Phil. 3:13, (partial), “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before”
I’m often asked if I have any regrets with my life. Often but not always, it’s a fishing expedition on behalf of the one doing the asking. How to answer, uhm, OF COURSE! Doesn’t everyone?……….just kidding, now be nice. However, these types of questions do cause a person to think about missed opportunities.
While working in the health care industry I was assigned to the home health hospice unit. It was my job to care for the dying. These, at times, were quite talkative and welcomed conversation. So, sometimes I’d “go fishing” and ask if they could live their life over what would they do differently. More times than not they would say they would have paid more attention to the little things in life and just learned to live. Most said they felt like they spent too much time on the things that mattered to the world and society in general.
This brings to mind the rich man in Luke 12:18, that said “I will pull down my barns and build greater”, or the rich man in Luke 16:19 who would toss poor Lazarus a few crumbs from his table. Possibly these two rich men were the same person. These men thought they were winning the race. However, we will see in God’s Word how they were fooled by the cares of this world to run the wrong race for their souls. This race ended catastrophically for them. I encourage you to read about them and how their race finished.
Consider for a moment Hebrews 12:1. Paul here admonishes the believer to “run with patience the race that is set before us”. (The word patience occurs 34 times in the new testament, none in the old testament). Its very important that the believer fully understands what patience is. In this verse it simply means to stay steady and maintain direction one step at a time. The men in the gospel of Luke obviously were not running this race because it was not “set” before them. It can only be “set” before you when you receive the gift of Christ’s blood sacrifice and are saved.
Now lets consider what this means to the believer who has a race track “set” in front of them. Paul clearly didn’t want the believer to consider the race that was behind them, else he wouldn’t have admonished the believer to run “before them”. This we see is a different race than what the world would have you run. The worldly race is always having you look behind. We already know how the race ends for us, if we are saved. It’s the running that can sometimes be unsure. Be assured you are not alone, Mark 10:29-30 (must read).
Consider the church in Smyrna in Rev. chapter 2. Christ here acknowledges that this church is poverty stricken and full of tribulation. However, Christ tells them they are rich. This church is rich because they are running the race “set before them”. Be assured, this church has no regrets. He later tells them to be “faithful unto death”. Christ nowhere has criticism for this poor ragged bunch of saints! So we see this is a race that is to the death, whether natural or through persecution.
So yes we have had regrets, but with God’s help, through His word, we will not let it drag us down into a life “shipwrecked” and a “castaway”. So let’s not get so caught up in “what might have been” that we lose sight of what Christ wants us “to be”.
So brothers and sisters in the Lord, le’ts run. When we are tired, let’s run, let’s help others to run, Gal. 6:2. Let’s feel the wind in our faces! Just keep running our race that is “set before us”. When you feel faint and are beset with regrets memorize Eph 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might”. Head and eyes to the FRONT!