“But, what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. . .forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

Philippians 3:8a, 13b

When we know where we want/need to be, getting there is a matter of intentionality and increments.

Decide.  Commit.  Succeed.

Those three, simple words are the “keys to success” for a popular exercise program.  They sum up in a succinct way the steps needed to change your physical fitness, strength, weight, etc.:  Decide that you want to change.  Commit to the exercise and diet plans.  And, succeed.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Yes, incredibly so.

But, what’s the problem?

It’s called “will power”—or, a less offensive way of saying it is “want to,” i.e., “how badly do you want to change?”

After meeting the Risen Lord on the Road to Damascus, the Apostle Paul realized he’d been traveling down the Road of Religiosity, not God-given Righteousness, and something had to give if he was going to follow Christ.

Such changes are not easy. . .especially when you’re “somebody” as Paul was in the Jewish community.  He had his Ph.d in Pharisaism. . . was a graduate of Gamaliel’s elite theological academy. . .had the right blood-line pedigree. . .and prided himself on being more zealous “for the faith” than his counterparts (Phil. 3:3-6).

But, something was missing.

And, that “something” turned out to be Someone.

Thus, he reached as “crisis of faith” where he had to decide if he truly wanted to follow Christ or stay where he was.  Changing would be costly.  And, it certainly meant moving out of his comfort zone.

Yet, he determined “knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings and being made conformable to His death” (v.10) was better than all of men’s applause, approval and accolades (vv.7-8).

So, he “decided. . .committed. . .and succeeded.”

He focused on one thing (“the excellency of knowing Christ”), intentionally committed to “reaching forth and pressing toward” (vv.13b-14) by purposely “forgetting those things which are behind.”

Focus and forgetfulness always go together, Pilgrim.  We can’t go with God and stay where we are.  And, we certainly can’t plow a straight row when we’re looking backwards (Lk. 9:62).  May the Holy Spirit help us today to make Him #1 in everything (Mt. 6:33) and then make what changes are necessary to succeed. . .step-by-step. . .day-by-day.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 14, 2009

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