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Keep Pressing On April 26, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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Philippians 3:4b – 14
I heard one time that Mario Andretti, one of the most successful car racers of all time did not have a rear view mirror on his car. He said, “what’s behind me isn’t important,” or so I was told. Now, I don’t know if there is any truth to this or if it’s just urban legend. To think of it, it doesn’t even make that much sense, but it illustrates Paul’s point perfectly.
Paul appeared to have it all. Listed in this passage is his pedigree and claim to fame, at least from the world’s perspective. He was from a religious family that practiced the right traditions and followed the right laws. He was of the people of Israel, more specifically the Tribe of Benjamin. Paul was highly regarded among the people. He was highly trained. In fact his teacher was a man named Gamaliel, a man traditionally held as a Pharisee doctor of Jewish Law. He was highly respected, called for special duty, and had a very high regard for the Law. Paul was formerly known as Saul, the Pharisee that persecuted the up and coming Christian church, the followers of The Way. This grassroots movement was an atrocity to the establishment and they wanted it gone. Saul was their man. Armed with his papers, he was on his way to Damascus when he met the risen Savior. The rest is, as they say, history.
Paul was highly distrusted at first, especially by the disciples. He had been their enemy for so long now that bringing him into the inner circles left them with a bad taste in their mouths. But, Paul spent a year or more learning just what Christ was about and how he would fit into God’s plan. Where once he had had it all, now he had nothing but his convictions and his new found faith in the very one he had been persecuting. You see, Saul was not just persecuting Christians, he was persecuting Jesus. Where once he fought against Jesus, he now whole heartily ran after his Savior. Where once he had a list of credentials, he now only had a confession, “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Phil 3:10) Where before he had only his own righteousness, now he had Christ. Paul left everything for Christ. His name was changed. His life changed. His message changed. His passion changed. Paul left everything behind and looked forward, to the prize at the end. No little steps, only the big picture. Paul was mightily used by God to accomplish His tasks. In the world Paul counted on his own credentials. In Christ he had no righteousness of his own. He left behind all that he was and wanted to be to pursue the One who matters.
We could all take a lesson from Paul. In evangelism, I often tell people, “I used to be someone else. This has two meanings. I was a fighting soldier before I was a Chaplain. It helps me relate to the guys better. I am often asked why I did it, and if I miss it. I do miss the old things sometimes, but God called me out of that life into this one. My desire is only to be well pleasing to Him. Secondly, I was a vile sinner. I was filthy with sin before God cleaned me up. He lifted me out of the muck and the mile and gave me a firm place to stand. He gave me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our Lord. (Psalm 40) I sing a new song now. I am a new creation now. The old is gone and the new has come. I have left all the old things behind for the sake of Christ.
What about you? Has God called you out of your old lifestyle? Have you changed, or are you still living there, in the past? Leave it behind. Have you changed, or are you stuck? Leave it behind. Cling to the Truth and He shall set you free. Leave it all behind and press forward to whatever God has for you.
I am often asked what I will do when we get home from this deployment. I don’t really know. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future. That is enough for me. I am His to do what He wants with me. I’ve left behind my own desires to follow Him. How about you? Let’s keep pressing on.

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