But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead… Philippians 3:13
In chapter 13 of the Book of Numbers, twelve spies were sent to spy-out the Promised Land and were ordered to bring back a report. Two men brought back a favorable report and ten men turned in a negative one. Now as quick as you can (and without looking in your Bible), name the ten men who brought back a negative report.
You can’t do it, can you. Nobody I know can, but rest assured they’re all recorded in the Bible. Funny how the only names we remember are Joshua and Caleb. The fact that we know theirs and not the others is in itself a witness to what Paul is declaring here in his letter to the Philippians: focus on the positive and forget the negative.
Even Jesus reminds us in Luke 9:62:
“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Jesus isn’t saying that those who dwell in the past or focus on the negative will not enter the kingdom of God, but is saying that we’re not fit. In other words, we are out of shape, and not in the best spiritual condition that we could be if we were looking and moving forward. This Spiritual weakness is the byproduct of dwelling upon the negative, while spiritual muscle is promoted as we move forward in Christ. Of course this verse also speaks to those who yearn for the sinful things they’ve left behind to follow Jesus. These folks are a selfish lot, double-minded and unstable in all their ways.
Where is Your Focus?
There is one good thing we can glean from the ten spies — they serve as an example of what not to do. Rather than moving in faith, they succumb to fear and the report they turned-in reflected their spiritual condition: they lost touch with their God of provision and promise. We can all relate to this condition, can’t we. The solution is found in confession and repentance: admitting to Jesus our failure(s) and turning again to Him and away from our offenses. It’s not necessarily a matter of starting from scratch, but getting up where you have fallen and moving forward in the will of Christ Jesus.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
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