As we come to the close of this year and the beginning of a new one, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on the past and look at the future.
I’m sure many people set goals at the beginning of 2021. Have you accomplished those goals?
Paul said, in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
If we are going to be successful in 2022, there are some things we will have to do.
First of all, we must forget the past. When we think about the past, we may think of past failures and past accomplishments. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves dwelling on these things. Spending too much time living in the glory of our past accomplishments or the defeat of our past failures will hinder us from achieving future success. If our goal in 2022 is to move forward and press toward the mark, we must forget both our past accomplishments and our past failures. You’ll never walk into the future looking into the past.
Then we must focus on the present. The word focus means to direct one’s attention or efforts. As we enter this new year, we need to set goals based on what we want to accomplish, and then we must direct our attention and efforts on the steps we need to take to accomplish those goals. So many times we start a new year with excitement and fervency to accomplish new things, but then our attention and efforts shift. We become distracted or discouraged, and by the end of January we’ve lost our focus. If we are going to achieve success in 2022, we will have to choose, each day, to direct our attention and efforts on present goals.
Finally, we must finish with the prize. It is always rewarding when we accomplish the task we set out to do. But the only way we will do this is by forgetting the past and focusing on the present. Success is getting up one more time than you fall down. In the context of this scripture, the Apostle Paul is dealing with the spiritual goal of pleasing our Lord and Savior. When we think about pleasing the Lord, many times we find ourselves focusing on the times that we have failed him. In this past year it may have seemed that you failed God more than you lived a life pleasing to God. What we must do in the upcoming year is forget those failures, and, with the help of God, live each day of this new year with a focus on the present goal of pleasing God in everything we do.