New Living for the New Year - Philippians 3:13

Instead of just living on New Year Wishes, it is better to make sure it will be a fruitful year by examining your values and living out the new values. The key for a good year is Paul's admonition in Php 3:13b "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead." Let's see what he meant that we may live it out to our benefits.
Here is the mind-map:

The Key Verse:

  • Php 3:13b "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead."
What to forget? What to go for? How to forget? How can I apply to my life?
These questions are addressed below.

What to forget? 
We must find out what Paul meant from the context of his letter. He counts as loss and garbage those things that he valued much before knowing Christ such as his Jewish birth, the circumcision, his status as a Pharisee, his adherence to the Laws, and even his passion in guarding his beliefs and persecuting the church. Those were the things he strived to gain his righteousness, to be accepted and justified from God. He told us he has a new values system, Jesus Christ. Everything should be judged by Christ's point of view. Knowing Christ is more important than anything else in the world.  Paul's experience was like that of Nicodemus, who was also a Pharisees and a ruler of the Jews. He came to see Jesus and saw Jesus as a teacher to teach men to be better. But Jesus destroyed his thinking that being better is still not good enough. Jesus was more than a teacher. He was the Savior that was to be lifted up to die for and to save men. Nicodemus needs to start all over again with a new birth in the Spirit of God. His past efforts, even of worldly greatness, is of no use for his salvation. He must count them as losses in order to gain Christ. He must put his faith in Christ to save him.

What to go for? 
In Paul's new found knowledge of Christ, the very key concept is "righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus Christ". It is not by man's effort to justify and save himself. It is not possible and it is useless. For henceforth, we must see things and value things from Christ's perspective. We are to live out the new creation, as children of God, within us. While the verse started with "forget", it actually ends with "remember", the goal, our destination that Christ has given His life for! We are called to remember the purpose of Christ's death and the new status that He has achieved and given to us. It is to remember the purpose of the past deeds.

How to forget? 
Very often, telling us to forget something actually reinforces the memory of that very thing to forget. So there are proper steps to bring closure to our past hurts or even past glory. Past successes lure us to live in the good old days. Past hurts caused us to make wrong decisions. Bitterness will poison our spirit and our body. We need to bring closure to both. With the new found faith in Christ, we have a new beginning and a new power to bring closures to our past so that they don't haunt us. We are to extends our new birth into the past to heal the hurt and to have a new valuation of our so-called successes so that we can live freely and victoriously in the new life.

How can I apply to my life?
To know Christ and to experience in resurrected power is about reading his Words, communion with prayers, and also putting the Words and guidance in actions. Only in walking out His ways do we experience His grace and power. Live not in fear anymore but in faith in Him. Living in faith is not just a moment of a decision but a journey of the life of putting our trust in Him and His values. Then we are able to always rejoices no matter what. Then we are able to be his good testimonies bringing glory to Him. His glory is seen in our behavior on earth.

Wishing you a better new year founded on the new life by faith in Christ.

Lim Liat (c) 4 Jan 2016

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