WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING Andy Hollifield 10-31-18
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I am sure that every one of us have made that statement to someone at some time or another. “Watch where you’re going”. Most of the time it is a statement of aggravation because someone has bumped into you. If the truth be known, it is really good advice. I heard a statement on a TV program last night that made a lot of sense. It was “There’s no need to look backward unless that’s the way you’re going”. That’s kind of true to a point but sometimes it pays to look behind you because the fear of past failures is a powerful motivator to help you do better in the future. God even commanded Israel to put fringes on a blue band on the borders of their clothes to remind them of his commandments to do them. Joshua and Moses told Israel to remember all that God had done for them.
One of the most depressing things I can think of is to look back at the times in my life when I wasn’t living pleasing to the Lord. When I think back to my middle and high school years, I was a near perfect example of a hypocrite. While it is painful to think about all of those missed opportunities, it also motivates me to do all I can for the Lord. I can do nothing about the past but I can do my best to make a difference in the future in people’s lives. Since I can’t look into the future and see any good works that might encourage me, I have to look a little further into the future. I have to do like Paul told the Philippians that he did. He looked toward that mark for the prize. There is a life ahead of those of us that are born again and a destination we are going to that will make this life not worth remembering. I have used the analogy of a woman giving birth in the past. Our life is the same way as that. When we step into that city that God has built and the home that Jesus has prepared for us, nothing we have ever gone through here will even be worth remembering. That day and that place will make every tear we have cried in our biggest heartaches or deepest valleys worth every bit of the pain. Paul stated it to the Romans like this: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”. Do you know why Paul thought that? I believe it was because he spent his time looking toward that place and the day he would get to finally enter in. He kept pressing toward that mark. A runner stays on course by looking for the finish line.
Sometimes the troubles and cares of this life can turn our world upside down or we can get battered so bad that it seems like our life is spinning out of control. Doubt and confusion can cause us to get off course even when we are trying our best to live pleasing to the Lord. The only way to get back on course is to look for the end. We know what lies at the end and we know who we are looking for. We may not have ever seen him with our eyes but I believe we will know him when we see him. Stephen knew him in Acts 7:55. While he was being stoned to death and bitten by people for preaching the truth, and then trampled on, he looked into heaven. The bible says “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God”. Stephen knew exactly who he was looking at and where he was looking. I personally don’t believe that from the moment he looked up he felt one single stone or bite from those people. The bible says in verses 59 and 60 that he was calling upon God while they were stoning him. During that time, he knelt down and cried out loudly asking God not to lay this sin to that multitude’s charge. After that it says that he just fell asleep.
I have to be honest with you; what lies ahead for me looks far better than anything now and definitely better than anything behind me. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. It is very possible to get weary working for the Lord. The Samaritan woman at the well met Jesus there because he was weary with his journey. If the Lord got tired, we might as well expect that we will. The only way to not get tired is to not do anything. But when we get tired and weary, that is the time to remember what we are doing it for. We would have a lot sweeter journey if we would just watch where we’re going. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!