Friday, November 15, 2019

A Role Model

I grumbled at my husband for what I perceived to be a lack of communication. The previous day I had read a Facebook post in which a husband chronicled the glorious attributes of his wife. It was oh so sweet. And it made me want to hear such praise myself. I can't remember what Bill said (or didn't say), but I grumbled. And later apologized.

Why do critical words pop out of my mouth? Why do I speak before I think? Why do I want Bill to be what only God can be to me? I regularly disappoint myself by not living a perfect life. Can you relate?

Well, the apostle Paul did not live a perfect life either. This is what he wrote: Forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

Paul had persecuted Christians before he came to know Christ. And even after he knew Christ and longed to live a righteous life, he lamented that he had not yet attained all this. So we are in good company.

A blot on Paul’s conscience did not keep him from moving forward and neither should it stifle us. Jesus blood covers the ink blots of sin in our lives. Leave them in the past. Instead, focus on pressing on toward the goal.

That, of course, is easier said than done. Childhood hurts cut deep. Current offenses derail our emotions. It’s hard to keep a positive focus in a negative situation. But it’s not impossible. Here’s what I’ve learned from Paul:

Leave the past behind.

We cannot change our past experiences, but we can learn from them. We can seek truth. Were we abused? While we may never forget, we can forgive. We can listen to the testimonies of others who suffered abuse and lived to conquer its negative effects. Have we abused someone in the past? How have other Christians handled such failures? We have an awesome God who forgives, who does not leave us without access to His wisdom and resources.

Learn all you can.

I am amazed when I sit down each day to study the Bible how my eyes are opened to something pertinent. I’ve read through the whole Bible over and over and over again. But God can use little noticed verses to speak fresh truth to my heart. We are never too old to learn. That is a fact!

And we have so many resources available. Books, television broadcasts, online Bible studies. The list goes on. What topic would you like to learn more about? Search Amazon for books on the subject. What Bible book confuses you? Find an online commentary and read about it.

Live for the future.

Paul never knew what the future held. He just kept walking on. One missionary journey after another. The man surely tired. He surely wanted to sleep in his own bed. The older I get, the more I feel that way. What are your personal goals, career goals, service goals? How might you take a step to reach them? What do you want to do for God? How has He equipped you to build His kingdom?

If you need a mentor, there’s Paul. A man who put himself out for the kingdom. A man who admitted his faults and worked hard to overcome them. A man who wasn’t perfect, but he loved God and served others. What an inspiration to us all.