Daily Devotion Nov. 28, 2023

“Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me” (Philippians 3:13,CEB).

     My daughter owns a horse. His name is Skipper. Skipper is a twelve-hundred pound toddler. Whatever one may ask him to do, he does just the opposite.

     Skipper also doesn’t like to run unless it suits him. It may take Skipper an hour to come in from the field if he knows it’s bath time. However, once the dinner bell rings, he could beat American Pharaoh by three lengths back to the barn.

     I have witnessed Skipper flat out gallop on a few occasions. A horse in mid-stride is a beautiful thing to watch. The tail forms a straight line backwards. The hooves pound to a four-beat gait. The head and neck of the animal strain forward. This activity is the equestrian metaphor Paul borrows to describe the spiritual journey of the Christian life. “But one thing I do:” said Paul, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13, NIV).

     Like the motion of a horse, Paul claims that the disciple of Christ leaves behind anything that would hinder spiritual progress. A horse that has been properly trained to race is oblivious to distractions. A true thoroughbred keeps its eye on what lies ahead.

     This is a good image for those of us who too often get sidetracked by the past. Regret has the power to deter us from pursuing the opportunities God places before us. In some cases, guilt can grind us to a halt.

     I realize that forgetting our previous missteps or slip-ups isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, forgetting previous failings in many instances may be unhealthy. The school of hard knocks is often our best teacher.

     However, there is one important matter no Christian should forget. We are forgiven. Christ’s death on the cross has set us and our conscience free. All guilt and regret have been left behind in the dust of Calvary.

     So friend, pony up. Don’t allow the Evil One to drag you backward today. Get back in the saddle and keep on riding toward the SONrise!