Have you ever traveled the proverbial road down memory lane? Or possibly the physical road of past homes and lives? Our memory often plays games with reality and easily brings forward the good thoughts often shadowing challenges and difficulties. One stroll, without emotional checks in place, can lead us on a path of memory bliss and if not careful – will cloud the thoughts of the present. Current struggles become impassable mountains and reminiscent waterfalls and fields of flowers overtake the current hardship. But, it is an illusion.
I love cold weather. Well, I at least love the thought of cold weather. I live in Houston and have lived in the South most of my life. Other than the South, I’ve lived in Southern California. Cold weather brings refreshment and the crisp air sharpens the senses. An occasional snow fall every few years adds so much interest to an average “warm” winter. Recently when discussing the lack of cold weather with one who lived a more northern life, he informed me that any winter without snow was a good one. After years of shoveling endless white powder to clear a miniscule path by which to drive, coupled with months of dreary skies and layering clothes, his perspective accurately reflected life in cold weather. I had only imagined it with ski poles in hand.
In Philippians 3, Paul writes an encouragement to press on toward the goal of Christ Jesus. But before pressing on, he challenges us to forget what lies behind. I’ve typically read this passage and believed the intention is for me to forget the negative failures and struggles that can so easily guilt the mind to inaction. But likewise, I believe this verse also encourages us to forget the successes that might hinder action as well. Our mind has this peculiar way or reminding us of the good of the past without balance. My success then paves the road for pride, arrogance, and my inevitable fascination with me. We are also reminded of the perceived pleasure of greener grasses far off. In the quest to find heaven on earth, we quickly lose the battle of contentment. This passage encourages us to forget what lies behind, both good, bad, both could-be good, and could-be bad. We are challenged to strain toward God’s call.
It isn’t wrong to take an occasional stroll down memory lane or even gaze at the grass. We just have to be reminded that we live here and now and God has great things He wants to do here and now through us. After all, all of this is for His glory and not comfort or contentment. Learn from the past and strive for the goal of the upward call of Christ Jesus. Otherwise we will spend our days seeking illusive pastures and imaginative yesteryears.