We all want to move forward into “the more” of what God has got for us. If you want to move forward, you have to move forward. You can’t go where you need to go as long as you’re camped out where you are! It doesn’t matter how good last year was you’ve got to move on. It doesn’t matter how bad last year was, you’ve got to move on. You cannot allow last year, whether it was good or bad, to define the coming year. If you want to move forward, you need to let go of where you are right now and make decisions to move forward towards where you need to go to.
Jeremiah 29:11 New English Translation (NET Bible)
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.
Believing that God has good plans and a future filled with hope for you is one thing, but actually living in those plans and that future filled with hope is another thing. You should want your “future filled with hope” to be your “hope-filled present.” Embracing your hope-filled future and bringing it into your present will involve you letting go of where you are and moving forward. For some of you that might mean letting go of hurt, unforgiveness or bitterness. It might mean letting go of past victories so that you can look forward to new victories. We cannot allow the good or bad of yesterday to hold us back from the good that God has for us today. There’s always more of God’s goodness for us to experience; no one is experiencing everything that God’s got for them.
Philippians 3:13 New English Translation (NET Bible)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead, I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead
This verse shows us how we can move forward into our future filled with hope. The first thing I want to focus on is, “I do not consider myself to have attained this.” You’ll never know everything that there is to know about everything and you’ll never know if you’ve experienced everything that there is to experience. Therefore, you cannot allow pride to hold you captive by selling you the lie that you’ve arrived and there’s nothing more to learn or experience. You have got to have a mindset of progress; that there is always more to move into. We need to maintain a humble and teachable attitude because we’re never too old or too young to learn. I was really humbled a few years back when a pastor that I really respect and love, said to me, “God has told me that there is a revelation that you have about such and such which I need. Can you share with me, please?” This pastor who is much older than I am and has a lot more experience than me humbled himself and was willing to learn from me. That revelation which I shared with Him has helped to shape a lot of his ministry which has helped many people! We need to maintain an attitude of “I haven’t arrived but I’ve left; I can always learn something new.” Albert Einstein said, “once you stop learning, you start dying.” We can always learn something.
A healthy goal would be to learn something new. We should be seeking to grow in our relationship with God, in our skills and abilities regarding our vocation, and in our knowledge and understanding. “I do not consider myself to have attained this.” Paul had an attitude that we should have.
He continues, saying, “I am single-minded.” James 1:8 says that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” It’s like standing on an icy lake with each foot on a different piece of ice which are drifting apart. Eventually, you’re going to do the splits whether you want to or not! Have you ever tried to make a decision about what to eat, but you just can’t decide between this or that? Eventually, you have to make a decision, otherwise, you’re going to go hungry. The dictionary defines “unstable” as, “likely to change or fail, not firmly established.” That’s not God’s will for you. God’s will is that you would be established; firmly established. If you want to be successful, you have to be single-minded, which is talking about stability and focus. “Unstable” can also be defined as “prone to psychiatric problems or sudden mood changes.” Holding between two opinions can drive you (and those around you) nuts. Some of you have experienced that. You’re driving in the car with your spouse and you ask, “Love? What do you want to eat?” She responds saying, “I don’t know. What do you want to eat?” And you’re like, “Oh, I asked you first…” If someone doesn’t make a decision the situation could turn toxic or you’ll both starve to death! We need to be single-minded which means we’re not up and down like a yo-yo but rather we’re firmly established. Success comes from being focused and single-minded. The strength of a laser is in its focus.
Philippians 3:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead
Paul was single-minded. He didn’t say, “these 10 things I do.” He said this “one thing I do.” This is a key to success. Don’t try to be the Jack of all trades, but the master of none. God has called us to do something but not everything. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, but you shouldn’t do all things! We need to harness our energy in the right direction by doing what we’re called to do and not allowing anything else, whether it’s good or bad, to distract us from the thing that God has called us to.