Don’t Look Back

Adveniat Regnum = Forget yesterday

Adveniat Regnum = Kingdom Come in Latin

ad-vay-NEE-at REG-noom


“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Jesus Christ has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind me and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

The book of Philippians is a prison epistle, a letter written to the church at Philippi while Paul was most likely sitting in a Roman prison. The letter was written to show Paul’s appreciation and love to the Philippians for their continued help and support, and also to warn against false teachers and encourage the growth of the church there.

The thing in this passage that sticks out like a flashing neon light is when Paul says, “But one thing I do.” Remember the old E.F. Hutton commercials: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen” (Okay, I might be dating myself a little). When Paul says there is one thing I do, one key to life, people better listen! Paul says to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.

In other words, Paul had reduced the whole of sanctification to pursuing Christlikeness. And how do we pursue Christlikeness? There is only one way: through complete and total surrender. We cannot look back to achieve Christlikeness, but we can pursue it right now today, through surrendering our lives.

The Bible has a couple of other warnings not to look back.

In Luke 9:62, Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

And anyone remember what happened to Lot’s wife in Genesis? She was warned not to look back, disobeyed that warning, and she became a pillar of salt.

In verse 14, Paul says, “I press on toward the goal.” The goal Paul speaks of is to pursue Christlikeness in the here and now, and being rightly related to the Lord now and forever, in the age to come.

We can learn from Paul when he tells us to “forget yesterday.” We must refuse to live in our glory days; to rely on our past deeds or achievements in ministry, or to dwell on our sins and failures. To do either hinders us in the present.

So we must forget yesterday and pursue Christlikeness today.

Just for today, meditate on this thought and what it means to you.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Three…

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