A very appropriate scripture for us who leave one year behind and embrace the new year is Philippians 3.13-14:
“This one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
We can only guess at what Paul wanted to forget. It may have been his mistakes and failures, or it may have been his achievements and privileges (3.7-8). Whatever it was, let us apply it to ourselves. Let us not dwell on our achievements nor our failures. Let us focus on what God has for us. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says so magnificently, “(our) – chief end (or aim) is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” That is close to what Paul means when he speaks of pressing on towards the goal of the heavenly prize.
What about ourselves? Think about what it is from 2019 that we need to leave behind. Hebrews 12.1 speaks to us: “let us lay aside every weight.” Do we pride ourselves, thinking rather much about how successful we have been? Or is it a case of being depressed and burdened by our failures? Whatever it is God’s help is available. His forgiveness helps us blot it out and forget it, so that it is not an encumbrance and we can run with perseverance the race before us (Hebrews 12 1).
Paul thinks of the Christian life as a race. Like athletes, we “strain forward to what lies ahead.” What lies ahead of course is unknown. We trust God to see us thorough.
What this passage has to teach us about the Christian life is the commitment and tremendous concentration that is involved. As the epistle to the Hebrews says, we are to “lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so easily and run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (12.1).
Christ ran this race. He knows all about it. He won and he is now with God, waiting to welcome us.
So this new year let us, like Paul, concentrate on the Christian race. Let us, put the past behind us and devote ourselves to what lies ahead of us in 2020.