“But one thing I do: forgetting what is 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 NIV
Another new year brings the realization of how fast time moves. For some, there might be a bit of sadness for the end of a great year. For others, it might bring a sigh a relief that the long year is finally over. Reviewing the past year provides personal growth and perspective.
Think back over the past year. It is easy to remember the events or travels, but I encourage you to go deeper and ask yourself these questions in a year-end review:
- What was a highlight?
- What was the biggest challenge?
- What have you learned?
- Is your faith deeper than it was 365 days ago?
Reflecting on the past can propel you into the next year.
The new year brings the opportunity for a new perspective.
The blank pages of 2016 lie before us. Although our problems and situations may be the same, the Lord can provide a change in our perspective. He can renew our minds and hearts to see things in a fresh, new way. As you look ahead to the new year, take a moment to consider these questions.
- Are you anticipating starting a new project or completing a major one in the new year?
- What do you need to do to take the next step toward your goal?
- How has the past helped prepare you for the next year?
- What will you do to deepen your faith this year?
In Philippians 3:13-14, the apostle Paul offers wisdom for the transition from one year to another and gain a new perspective.
- Forget what is behind. “To forget” in the Bible means “no longer to be influenced by or affected by.”* Take a few moments to review the past year. Use the lessons you learned from the past be a springboard to the future. What do you need to release? Use the past events to help you go forward to become the person God desires.
Enjoy the present. It is easy to get focused on accomplishing goals and miss the joys of the present. Even when stress is high, take time to see the blessings of each day. Enjoy the relationships God has put in your life.
Strain toward what is ahead—press on. “Straining” in Greek means “to stretch oneself forward to.”* Go forward in your personal growth. Work at it. If your goal wasn’t met last year, keep working at it.
The verb “press on” in Philippians 3:14 translates as “I follow after” and carries the idea of intense endeavor.* Be diligent in your pursuit of deepening your relationship with the Lord through reading the Word and prayer. Improvement comes from earnest pursuit. Obstacles will probably arise, but don’t let them stop you. Press on with faith in the Lord’s strength.
The new year can bring a new perspective with fresh hope if you take the wisdom from scripture to forget the past, enjoy the present, and press on with faith.
Are you ready to step into the new year with a fresh perspective?
*from the Bible Exposition Commentary, Warren Wiersbe