12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I’ve heard this particular passage of scripture several times; taught from several angles, but in this post, I want to focus on the “pressing toward the mark” portion. When you make the decision to FORGET those things that are behind you and press TOWARD the mark, you can’t continue to walk forward yet have your hand behind you pulling the rolling luggage of the past. I believe it’s easier for some folk to dwell on “those things behind” because those things are certain and to move forward means to abandon something you knew to be true and TRUST that what’s coming is better. It means you have to walk an unknown path filled with uncertainty and that makes us all VERY uncomfortable. Can’t we just perpetually stay in the “things that are behind us?” It’s very simple; we cannot. I mean you could, but the prize isn’t back there.
So about this pressing. Some of us bench press weights. Some of us just press buttons. Some of us press down on food items to make patties or mix well. The weight lifter can’t look at the weights and expect them to rise. We don’t just plop a glob of meat for a burger on the grill and never mixed the seasonings in; that’s not a taste that will be welcomed. When you press a button on the phone, you expect an app to open or the phone to perform a specific task. The point here is any type of press requires work – low or high impact, so pressing toward a prize is not going to be something that will come easily to you. You must put forth an effort to press. It takes nothing to recall, but it takes everything to press forward.
Your “things behind you” maybe failed attempts at making a relationship work. It could be bad experiences at the hands of “church folk.” It could be trouble with the law that resulted in prison time or other consequences. It could be health treatments that didn’t work. Maybe, it’s alcoholism or drug abuse. Whatever your “things behind you” is, I’m here to encourage you to PRESS TOWARD. Let go of the rolling luggage; loose the weight and PRESS!
Yes – pressing is painful at times, but even a broken arm will heal. An athlete doesn’t quit playing the sport because they were hurt in the past. Yes – pressing may mean old habits get left behind, but get free anyway. Yes – pressing may mean against all you want to hold on to that didn’t work and makes you believe moving forward won’t work, you give it one more shot – DO IT! Pressing may mean a new career path into the unfamiliar – take the job, promotion or business plan and make it happen! Staying settled in the “things that are behind you” closes the door on so much that God has prepared for you.
Your reality is one thing. Your PROMISE is another. Pressing toward the mark goes beyond the realm of what you know to be true because you see and feel it. Pressing toward the mark says, “God, I don’t know but you do and I’m going to trust you.” The one time you make up in your mind to forget those things which are behind you and press toward the mark will be when God’s promises manifest in your life. Relationships, jobs, business opportunities, healing, and more is yours, but it’s not behind you. Are you ready to press?