Summary: Losing our ability to remember things can be frustrating, but the Bible says we should try to forget some things.
12Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
13Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Many people fear they will die from cancer.
I believe there’s a far more cruel way to die.
It’s called Alzheimers Disease.
The disease is named after Alois Alzheimer
who diagnosed it in 1906.
Years ago, older people who lost the ability to remember
were called senile and death was called senility.
It’s sad to watch someone slowly die from Alzheimers
as the brain eventually forgets
how to cause the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe
and other vital body organs to function.
Sometimes I get frustrated at my failure to remember things.
I can be trying to remember someone’s name and I draw a blank.
I’m not talking about someone I met years ago.
I’m talking about people I see quite often.
One night I was webcasting a volleyball game on the internet
and I started talking about one of the players
who wasn’t playing that night because of an injury.
I couldn’t remember that player’s name!
That was so frustrating
because I’d seen her play numerous games!
How could I have forgotten her name?
Let me tell you the story of Paula Smith.
After finishing her shopping at WalMart,
Paula headed for the checkout lanes.
She opened her purse to get her checkbook
and then she noticed it.
Her keys were not in the purse.
Suddenly she realized she must have left them in the car.
She quickly checked out.
Frantically, she headed for the parking lot.
Her husband had scolded her many times
for leaving the keys in the car's ignition.
He was afraid that the car could be stolen.
As Paula looked around the parking lot,
she realized he was right.
Her car was not in the parking lot.
So she took out her cell phone and called the police.
She told the police she was at WalMart,
confessed that she had left her keys in the car ignition,
and that it had been stolen.
Paula knew her husband was going to be furious!
Well, I can understand how Paula felt.
We think forgetfulness is a weakness.
Being unable to remember can be a frustration to us.
However, there is a time when forgetfulness is a good thing.
As Christians, Jesus wants us to forget some things.
Point #1. We must forget our past successes.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Philippian church.
In Philippians 3 verses 5 and 6,
Paul lists his past accomplishments.
He was the “perfect Jew”.
He had been circumcised, a requirement for Hebrew men.
He was a Pharisee among Pharisees,
meaning he knew the Law…
the first 5 books of the Old Testament.
He was blameless in the law, meaning he followed the law.
He had been zealous of his belief in Judaism
to the point of persecuting people who became Christians.
In other words, other Hebrew people would have seen Paul
as a very successful Jew.
Yet, Paul goes on to say
that nothing he had done in the past
is worth remembering.
Listen to what Paul says in verses 7 and 8.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Paul counts all those accomplishments
as “rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
Actually, that word “rubbish” is translated from a Greek word
that refers to animal manure.
It does not matter how successful you may be in this life.
All that really counts is whether you know Jesus!
Now, there is a difference
between just “knowing who Jesus is”
and “gaining Christ”.
Former President Lyndon Johnson said,
“We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.”
Many people focus their lives on past successes.
Point #2. We must forget our past failures.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul writes about his past successes,
yet he refuses to bring up his past failures?