[x_blockquote cite=”Philippians 3:13-14 KJV” type=”left”]“13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”[/x_blockquote]
Paul realized that he was still on a journey towards spiritual growth and maturity in Christ. So certainly if Paul was, then you and I are. And although you will never arrive at perfection in the Christian life, you are to never stop pursuing it.
In verse thirteen above we see that Paul used the word “count.” And the word count in this verse means: to take inventory; to calculate. It is a reference to gaining an accurate measurement.
So after Paul took inventory of his life, he quickly realized that he had not arrived yet. And if you ever intend to grow up into spiritually maturity in your walk with Christ, then it will be necessary for you to do an inventory of your own life as well. But when you do, don’t be so foolish as to compare yourself with others. Because if you do, you will be measuring incorrectly. And to be honest, this is the mistake that most people make, which is why we are warned against it in the Bible.
[x_blockquote cite=”2 Corinthians 10:12-15 NASU” type=”left”]“12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you.”[/x_blockquote]
Paul was teaching believers the correct way to take inventory of their lives. Because he knew that when most Christians take an inventory of their life, they wrongly compare themselves with others. And if they have accomplished more than someone else for example, or grown spiritually more than someone else, they think they are okay.
On the other hand, if they are behind others spiritually, or if they have accomplished less for God than others, this makes them seem to be failures in their calculations. However, if you are going to measure yourself accurately, you can only use the ruler that God has for you and your life, and no one else. Because any other measurement is a false measurement.
How do you measure up to what God has told you to do? That is the question you should be asking yourself. But if you allow pride to get into your calculations, things will never add up correctly. Because if you get into pride, you will begin thinking that you have arrived and become unteachable. Pride blinds you to the truth, so stay humble.
Paul didn’t take a wild guess to determine where he was at with the things of the Lord. Instead he carefully measured and calculated, and he came to the conclusion that he had not arrived yet. He understood that he still had much more to do, not only in his ministry assignments, but his own spiritual growth as well.
Another thing we see in Philippians 3:13 that helped Paul get an accurate gauge as to where he was at spiritually, was to purposely forget the past. The reason this is so vitally important is because you will never arrive where God wants you to in this life, if you do not learn to forget the past.
[x_blockquote cite=”Luke 9:62 KJV” type=”left”]“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”[/x_blockquote]
Jesus is comparing your life to rows of a field being plowed. If the plowman spends all his time looking backwards, then all the rows he plows will be crooked and misdirected.
We are to forget those things in our past that hinder our Christian life, and prevent us from fully obeying the Lord. We must push those things aside, or they will continually hinder us. Because all of the things that are behind, are those things that slow us down and hinder us from advancing. You see, when “yesterday” is in the forefront of your mind, then you have a problem with the past.
When the past is a stronghold, you are to forget it and get rid of it. You cannot seize and take hold of those things that God has called you to do, when you are hindered by all of the mistakes, sins and errors in your past. Ask the Lord to forgive you and get all of these things under the Blood of Jesus, if you haven’t done so already (see 1 John 1:9). After you have done that, forget those things and move forward.
If you don’t forget the past, you will never reach out for what is still ahead. However, forgetting the past includes more than just sins and failures. It even includes past victories and accomplishments. Because stopping at past victories, is often what keeps believers from moving forward into future ones.
So take an honest inventory of your life, and see exactly how you measure up.