Summary: The stories of the Rich Young Ruler and of Mary and Martha show that Christians need the discipline of denying self, learning of Christ and following HIm in order to find peace.
THIS One Thing I DO Philippians 3__13
If a person is even remotely interested in the world around him, has an occupation and a family, his responsibilities and interests quickly out grow his ability to accomplish all that need be done or that he would like to do.
Only a few people can do more than one thing at a time. In my observation, working mothers may be better at multi-tasking than the rest of us. I have seen mothers carry children and care for their wants and needs, carrying on a conversation with them while working with their hands or typing or talking on the telephone. Too much mult-tasking can divide us or take away our peace so that we are multiple personalities, virtually lost souls.
Focusing on one task at a time and completing it is often difficult in this world. Keeping one’s inner peace amid the world that provides us daily with a 15-20 item do list is extremely difficult; seemingly impossible.
I. ONE THING I DO– Overcoming the Past. Phil. 3:13-14
We were never perfect in our past lives. In everyone’s past there are moments of hurt, times when we’ve felt betrayed, times when we have betrayed others, times of triumph and failure.
Paul, in looking back over his life observed that his past was not worth taking time away from the present or the future. Past glory may encourage us to more efforts, but we shouldn’t think those past successes will entitle us to lay down the cross and be at ease in Zion, the Heavenly Kingdom. Nor should we let the ghost of past failures outweigh our faith that Christ is with us to help us carry the cross we must bear today. We should not let fears left from the past hinder us in completing tasks Providence brings our way now or in the future.
We certainly should not dwell on past failures; to do so is a denial of God’s grace to save us. We pray "deliver us from evil." The triumph of Christ over our past is a real event if we will have it.
In the 1950’s a young man was part of a brutal gang of youths in New York who preyed on the society around them. They made their way by stealing and intimidating people. They were constantly involved in wars with other gangs. This young man was responsible for the death of others in a brutal way. Eventually, he was apprehended, not by the law, but by Jesus Christ. His encounter with Christ came from his contact with a Christian who cared for him and led him out of the gang life.
Eventually he became an evangelist and wrote a book. I found the book disappointing because it told in gory detail all of the evil this young man had been involved in. The Cross and the Switchblade became a best seller, but in my opinion it dwelt too long on the knife and too little on the Cross. At times he seemed to be almost boasting about the extent of the evil in which he was involved and that he had survived it. It would have been impossible to write as he did without mentally reliving that past.
There is a rule for priests, that if they hear a confession, they are never to mention the items in that confession to anyone, not even to the person who made the confession. There is a line in Scripture in which God says, “Their sins I will remember no more.” When a person has made confession and the priest pronounces forgiveness in the name of the Lord, that evil is to be forgotten. We take confession and absolution seriously
After the confession has been made and forgiveness is declared, priest and parishoner are morally equivalent: both are sinners made whole by the grace of God. There is no moral high ground at the foot of the Cross.
Instead of living in the past, being intimidated by past failures, we should be joyfully praising God, thanking Him for salvation, for the place of beginning again. We shouldn’t be depressed because things have not gone as we would like in the past, but should press on toward the goal of creating Christ in our lives.
Defeat comes from dwelling on the past. You can’t live yesterday over again. I seldom tell much of my life story because to be complete and honest in the rendition, I would have to bring up past sins. The Bible tells us that God has forgotten them, so why bring them up again; they have no power over our present or future unless we allow it.
Peter Marshall, one time chaplain to Congress said, “Never let the past be so dear as to limit the future.”