One of the most widely telecast TV commercials, as of late, is Mutual of Omaha’s AHHA moments. You know, the ones that show different individuals describing their AHHA moments. (You can see many of these at (http://www.youtube.com/MyAhaMoment?feature=pyv&gclid=CIOpsL3ewKECFVhJ2god_AfX-w.) So what is an AHHA moment? It is a time in one’s life when they come to a clear understanding of something they previously did not understand.
Well, my wife and myself have come up with a new “moment”. This one is known as our “Oh Well,” moment. Let me try to explain…. I am known for being a klutz. That’s right, at times, I feel like I am the most clumsy person alive. I drop things, knock things over, and spill things all the time. It is really pathetic.
Anyhow, this is where the phrase “Oh well,” comes in. You see, whenever I pull one of my klutz moves… the first thing to pop out of my mouth is “Oh well”. I use this phrase A LOT. When I use it what I am trying to say is…. “I’ve done something stupid and I can’t undo it, so I’ll just get on with my life.” For example, I spill tea all over myself, I mutter “OH WELL”, and then proceed with cleaning up the tea and changing my shirt.
Oh, how I wish getting over all my mistakes in life were this easy. But it’s not. When I think about how I have failed my Lord in times past, I have a tendency to harbor feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Although I have been forgiven of my sins, I have a tendency to say to myself, “I have failed the Lord before… chances are I will fail again, so why even try?” Let’s see what the Lord says our attitude should be concerning our past failures in our life…
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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
The book of Philippians was written by the apostle Paul. To get the impact of these verses we need to understand Paul’s past. Saul (later renamed Paul), as a younger man hated Christ and the followers of Christ. He hated Christ and His disciples to the point he persecuted and killed them whenever he could. (Phil 3:4-7, Acts 7:58-60 & 8:1, Acts 8:3-4) Talk about committing grave sins in the eyes of God! After his salvation, I’m sure that Paul desired to turn back the time and undo all that He had done against his Lord. But he couldn’t. No matter how sincerely he desired for things to be different, what was done was done.
Just like when we fail our Lord today. When we sin, we sin. We can never take it back. We can secure forgiveness from God and those we have sinned against. We can try to make amends the best way we know how. We can even successfully resolve to never commit that sin again. But the bottom line is… that original sin that we committed can never be reversed.
That leaves us with a choice. Either we allow that sin to weigh us down for the rest of our lives; or, after securing our Lord’s forgiveness and seeking His grace to strengthen that weak area in our life; we proceed forward seeking to serve Him to the best of our ability.
Paul’s example makes the Lord’s desire for us crystal clear… “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things that are before I press toward the mark”. Paul said, in the context of his horrible past life of sin and rebellion, that he would forget what lay behind him. In other words, as much as he hated what he had done, he would press ahead in his service as if those previous sins had not been committed. He had been forgiven by God’s grace, his sin was now cast behind God’s back, buried in the deepest sea (please see Isa 38:17, Micah 7:19). Paul had resolved to treat them in the same manner.
In Rom 5:20, Paul said “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Paul used his previous sinful life to motivate himself to greater service. You see, because God was willing to forgive him of such a grave set of sins, he then needed to appreciate God more than others… therefore, out of an appreciative heart, Paul would then serve the Lord in greater ways than others! Paul saw himself as the “chief of sinners” and then proceeded to serve the Lord accordingly, as the chief of servants!
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
My prayer is that all of us, as forgiven servants of the Almighty God, learn this important lesson. We should never allow our past sins to hinder our current service to our Savior. His grace is always sufficient to forgive any past sin we have committed. (Roms 5:19-21) When we are forgiven of those same past sins, we have been given His amazing, miraculous grace. We need to serve Him more than ever, because of the tremendous gift of love He had placed upon us. Let us all, with thankful hearts, serve Him with all our might… He has done so very much for us!
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”