Summary: Challenging for commitment in the year ahead


“I do concentrate on this; I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal -my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.”

[Philippians 3:14 J B Philips]

As we face another New Year, it is good to look back and learn from our mistakes; be encouraged by our successes; and determine that the New Year facing us is going to be the best Year that we can make it – with God’s help! There is no point in simply drifting along. We need to set ourselves a personal target – something you would like to see achieved during this coming Year. I would ask you to respond to this challenge personally. It might be a good idea to write down your personal target, so that you will be able to see when you attain it!

Before we can see great things done in our Fellowship, we must see great things done in our own lives. The Fellowship is made up of individuals, and each one of us has an important part to play in the on-going life of this part of the Church.

I feel sure that there are things that we would like to see happen in this coming Year; a Year that is untrodden, and unmarked. If we take time to look back over last year, and see the trail of our moving through the year, I feel certain that there are things that we would change if it were possible, but we cannot touch last year, it is now a closed chapter of history. But we do have a New Year before us. What are we going to make of it? Will we come back in twelve months with similar regrets, Or with a sense of joy?

I believe that this word from Scripture, is one that we can take with us through the coming year. It is a word that can help us attain His ‘well done’- if we are willing to apply it to our daily living. This is a word for every day of this year, not just for the opening days. It is a word that can change our lives for the better. Let me remind you of the text:

“I do concentrate on this; I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal -my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.”

[Philippians 3:14 J B Philips]

I want to take a look to see what this verse is really saying to us today, and the first thing I see is the need to concentrate on applying the Word of God to our individual lives. There must be an


“I do concentrate on this;”

The fact that we have the Bible to help us each and every day is due to the goodness of the Lord. If we get into a mess in our lives, it is almost certain that we have contravened one of the principles laid down by the Lord in His Word! Has God spoken to you in the past year about a particular thing in your life? Have you responded in the way the Lord has shown you? To apply God’s Word needs concentration to overcome the habits of a lifetime; habits that are not glorifying to the Lord. Let us make it our aim for this New Year to really concentrate on doing what the Lord tells us, even if we do not understand why we should do it!

Let me remind you that God’s ways are not our ways; they are better, higher, greater than our ways. We need to apply what He says to us. We can take encouragement from what Mary told the servants at Canna. She told them to do whatever Jesus said. It was a strange instruction, but it worked! His instructions always will! As long as the instruction is from Jesus it is sure to work!

What we have said so far is not promised to be easy, it requires:


“I leave the past behind”

Whatever that happened in last year is gone, it is history, and cannot be changed. There were some things that were good, but they are in the past. There may have been some things that were not good, but they are also in the past, and can be forgiven, if confessed. It is certain that however much we may try we cannot live in the past. We have today, and we face tomorrow, but yesterday with its joys and sorrows is irretrievably gone. What we did in past years cannot be changed – we cannot even change what we did yesterday. We can certainly learn from the past, but whether we like it or not, we have to move forward into the New Year ahead of us. Let us determine, like Paul to, “leave the past behind”, facing the future with real expectancy, as we firmly believe God for great things.

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