It’s Time – Forget what is behind
Our preceding sermon to vision Sunday at Belmont centered around the theme “It’s Time – Forget what is Behind”, by Pastor Julie on 31/1/2016.
Phil 3:12-14 says:
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
There are a few things we can learn from this verse.
Press on to take hold
What is it you need to take hold of? Spiritual – take hold of the spiritual things God has given each one of us. Our new life in Christ, the victory on the cross, the forgiveness, mercy and grace. Take hold of the personal things like prophecies and promises that have been given to you and apply to you. Declare and speak them out. Take hold of the things God has given you to do and do those to the best of your ability.
Romans 6 describes how our sinful nature has been crucified and how we’re either slaves to sin or slaves to God and righteousness. You’ll find that as you focus more on God and the things that you should be doing and are made to do, other things will drop away. Leaving things behind will almost happen automatically.
To press on to take hold, we have to do “one thing” – which actually consists of two things. Both are important.
1. It’s Time – Forget what is Behind
There comes a time when sometimes we know it’s time to leave something behind, to stop doing something we’ve always done. It could be something we did for a season and that season has come to end – we need to recognise that. If we are continually looking at the past, we may become frozen, like Lot’s wife when she looked back.
Unhealthy relationships, artificiality, pretence, pride, false concepts of God, negative thoughts, disappointment – disappointment in yourself, others and God, the things that you think God didn’t do, unrealistic expectations placed on you by yourself, family, friends, work etc. All these need to be left behind, forgotten.
Forget the old ways of doing things and what something “used” to be like. If we are leaders of ministry, we need to forget the old ways of doing things and seek God for new ways. It takes hard work and time and effort, but the results will be worth it. We learn what we can from the past, but then we forget about it and instead use the opportunity to do something fresh, new and better.
What changes do you need to bring? Don’t hold onto things too tightly. Sometimes we have to push through tough times. Other times we need to know when it’s time to give things up. Know the seasons.
Let go some of the things that you’re attached to, that you’re comfortable doing. Perhaps you know what it is that you have to leave behind or do, but can’t do it. Use the new year as a motivation – get excited about what you know God wants to do.
What stops us? The Vultures
Gen 15 describes Abraham after he was given the promise that he would have many descendants. As part of sealing that promise, he made some offerings. Before God had taken the offerings, the vultures came to steal. Abraham drove them away.
Vultures represent things that try to take away the word of God.
- It starts in the mind – replaying things, throwing up “what ifs”, feelings of guilt/condemnation
- Thoughts – negative thoughts, this can’t happen, you’re no good etc. Fear – fear of the unknown, what will happen.
- Comfort and attachment – It’s much easier to sit on the couch than go for a walk, sleep instead of pray etc. It’s much easier to keep doing things the same way. It takes less effort, but there is less reward!
- Don’t return to what you’ve left behind! Prov 26:11
- Always a way out of temptation – 1 Cor 10:13
- The weapons of our warfare aren’t carnal – 2 Cor 10:4
2. Reach Toward, or take up, what is ahead
One thing I do, straining toward, reaching toward, take hold – These are action words.
Be willing to try new things.
Zec 7:3 “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?” Don’t keep doing what you’ve always done. Ask God if what you do is still relevant. Allow yourself to dream and pray big prayers.
There are things we can do in the natural that will help.
Start applying for new jobs if that’s what you need/want. Talk to others who may be able to help you in whatever area you are trying to move into. Find out if there are courses in what you want to do that will help you. Read some relevant books. Learn something new. Take up a new challenge. Practise that musical instrument, take the singing lessons. Get up early. You’ve got nothing to lose.
And of course – pray!
It’s time. It’s time to forgive, leave behind past hurts. It’s time to do ministry in fun, new ways. It’s time to call forth God’s promises instead of hope and disappointment. Church, It’s Time!
For the sermon slides, click here.