The Key to Victory in 2015

Each new year, the first Daily Encourager we share is part of an old sermon I preached years ago. Since it's from a sermon, it's much longer than our usual Daily Encouragers, but I pray it will bless you today...
"The Key to Victory in 2015"
Philippians 3:13-14...

The key to victory in 2011 is Philippians 3:13-14. Paul was using the illustration of a race to describe his life. He was in the home stretch, but he was still running the race; the race wasn't over. The first thing we need to notice is that Paul was not satisfied with his performance. No runner worth his salt is ever satisfied with his performance. He always wants to go a little faster, a little longer or a little harder. Each runner wants to continually improve himself. and Paul was the same. He said, "I have not apprehended it yet." - NOT YET!

Right behind this conjunction is one of Paul's secrets to living: THIS ONE THING I DO! It's the only time this particular phrase is used in the New Testament. Single-minded concentration on the things of God is essential to running the race of Christianity. You cannot be dwelling on other things as an athlete and give your best performance. Therefore, Paul says "this one thing I do."

What is "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." That's the key for victory in the Christian life. That's the key for victory in 2015.
 
What do we need to forget?
Paul had learned that we have to lock the door on yesterday and throw away the key. Paul discovered that looking back almost always ends up in going back. Let me repeat that... Looking back almost always ends up in going back. In the Old Testament we find the wandering Israelites ready to return to their old ways rather than pressing on. In the New Testament Jesus clearly taught us in Luke 9:62 that "no man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for God's Kingdom."
 
4 THINGS WE NEED TO FORGET:
 
1. YESTERDAY'S MISTAKES
In his book "ENCOURAGE ME", Chuck Swindoll has a chapter entitled, "The Fine Art of Blowing It". It begins like this, "It happens to every one of us. Teachers as well as students. cops as well as criminals. Bosses as well as secretaries. Parents as well as kids. The diligent as well as the lazy. Not even presidents are immune. Or corporation heads who earn six-figure salaries. The same is true of well-meaning architects and hard-working builders and clear-thinking engineers... not to mention pro ball players, politicians, and preachers. What? making mistakes, that's what. Doing the wrong thing, usually with the best of motives. And it happens with remarkable regularity."

Dale Carnegie has a folder entitled "FTD" It stands for "Fool Things I Have Done." Whenever he did something foolish or stupid, he would dictate a record of it to his secretary. He confesses, however, that he was so embarrassed by his stupidity that he was ashamed to have her know it. So he would write it out in longhand and slip it into the file himself.
 
Everyone makes mistakes. Everybody does stupid, foolish things. God's Word says: "forget it" - leave them behind you. There are 3 things we should do about yesterday's mistakes:

1. Learn from them
2. Determine with God's help not to do them again
3. Forget them.

Satan will want to remind you and make you feel guilty for your past mistakes – but God says: "Forget Them. I HAVE"!
 
2. YESTERDAY'S HURTS
Life is a battlefield. You're a soldier in God's Army. On any battleground, injuries will occur and soldiers are going to get hurt. Sooner or later, someone is going to

... hurt you.
... lie about you
... verbally or physically harm you
... misrepresent you
... chop you up in little pieces
... slander you

It's going to happen--what do you do?
You have two choices:
1. Allow the resentment and hate to build
2. Forgive and Forget

A. Forgive as Christ forgave you
- just as He forgave the Roman soldiers who didn't know what they were doing.

B. Forget those things that are behind you Phil. 3:13
 
You might say, but David -
...You Don't Understand...

... You don't understand what's happened to me.
... You don't know how bad I've been hurt.
... I was innocent.
... I didn't do anything wrong, but they hurt me.
... They lied about me.
... They hurt my feelings and they didn't care.
... They criticized me when I didn't do anything wrong.
... They talked about me behind my back.
... They cheated me, they rejected me, they hurt me really bad.

God understands. Jesus was innocent, but they beat him, they tortured him, they mocked him, they crucified him. He didn't deserve it, but they did it anyway. On the cross, He forgave them. On the cross, He provided salvation for even those who beat him, who mocked him, who crucified him. In order to press on in the Christian life, we have to lock the door on yesterday's hurts.

3. YESTERDAY'S POSSIBILITIES
How often do I see people unable to operate in today because they are still living a "what if" life of yesterday. They keep talking about "what could have been"--"if I had only..."
Quite often they blame someone else
... if only my wife hadn't...
... if only my parents (children) hadn't...
... if only my business partner had...
... if only the war hadn't...

They even blame God - "if God would have… or if God wouldn't have…"
 
We can't live on yesterday's promises or yesterday's dreams. Too many people are dissatisfied with life because they've had an expectation that just hasn't worked out. Paul is saying - forget your past hurts, forget your past mistakes and forget living with what might have been and finally...
 
4. YESTERDAY'S SINS
Billy Graham once said that 60% of all the patients in mental hospitals could go home if they would accept the fact that they are not guilty or that they have been forgiven. Many people are carrying a burden of guilt:

... A past mistake
... A moral failure
... A painful cut to a friend
... A physical hurt to someone
... A stupid, hateful remark
... A poor decision

... A sin so horrible that they believe either God will not forgive them or they will not forgive themselves


***There is no sin, no matter how great or small, once it has been confessed and forgiven, that the memory of it should torment us no more. Let me repeat that: When sin, no matter how great or how grievous, has been confessed and forgiven, the memory of it should not torment us any more!
 
Notice, Paul didn't say, "I've forgotten those things which are behind. Paul said, forgetting those things. Paul had learned the secret. There are some things in our memory that we will never forget. We have to keep practicing forgetting...

Guilt will eat us alive. Every time the memory comes back, every time a song or a word or a smell or a picture or a person reminds us, we continue to practice forgetting. How long do we practice forgetting?

... until the memory doesn't hurt any more.
... until we allow God to forgive us
... until we allow God to forgive through us
... until the pain is no longer there
... until we can use our past to help us grow in the present
... until we can use our past to help others in the present

God says in Jeremiah 31:34 "I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more."

Psalm 103:12 "I will remove their sin as far as the east is from the west."

I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

It's time to:

Lock the Door on the Past!
Throw Away the Key!
Forget Where You Have Thrown It!
Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..

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