“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
Removing the 2013 calendar 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?
In Philippians 3:13-14, the apostle Paul gives us some wisdom for the transition from one year to another.
Here are some year-end tips:
1. 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.
2. Strain toward what is ahead. “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. Many websites offer devotionals and Bible reading plans. Two years ago I planned to read the Bible in a year. At the end of that year, I still had a long way to go to finish. Instead of abandoning the goal, I kept reading and finished it this year. It took longer, but I still was blessed by the perseverance and finally accomplishing the goal.
3. Press on. This verb is translated “I follow after” and carries the idea of intense endeavor.* Be diligent in your pursuit of deepening your relationship with the Lord. Keep on reading the Word and continue praying. Improvement comes from earnest pursuit. Obstacles will probably arise, but don’t let them stop you. Press on with the Lord’s strength.
The calendar for a new year brings fresh hope. Trying these year-end tips can help you begin 2014 with purpose. I pray that you will reflect on the past to propel you into the next year.
*from the Bible Exposition Commentary, Warren Wiersbe