It is a common adage that, “elephants never forget.” There have been many scientific studies done and it has been established that although they don’t remember every little thing, elephants do have remarkable memories. The older females leading a herd are especially likely to remember previous watering holes. They remember the urine smells of up to 30 other elephants in their herd, distinguishing friend from foe.
Today’s verse talks about the value of forgetting something very specific. Paul is saying that to make any progress in our Christian growth, we are to FORGET what is behind. I always assumed, knowing Paul’s past of persecuting the Church, that he meant his past sins. However, the context of the passage speaks of his Jewish lineage, his zeal and his righteousness. He counted his religiosity and good works as rubbish in order to know Christ and to have the righteousness which comes from faith in Him.
What does this mean for me? Do I pride myself in past accomplishments in the realm of good works? Am I on “cruise control” in my spiritual journey, thinking what I’ve already done for the Lord can somehow carry me along? Or am I motivated to keep on keeping on? It is a sobering thought to realize that any spiritual pride or SELF righteousness will keep me from moving forward. Better to forget even the good things in my past if they cause me to be complacent in the present. The Lord does not want me to relax but to keep pressing on to a deeper and more satisfying relationship with HIm.
Lord, keep me motivated to press on.