Monday, December 31, 2007

Thoughts for the new year.

The new year message for the Chinese Church came from Philippians 3:13-14.

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,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The outline of the points was
1. Forget past failures.
2. Keep the goal ahead of you.
3. Work hard to reach the goal.

Although Paul's focus is on our heavenly goal, these are good ideas to ponder at a time of new year's resolutions.

Paul called this list "this one thing," and then listed three ideas. The grammar indicates that the "one thing" is to strive hard, and the other two verbs are participles, indicating the sub-parts of working hard to reach the goal.

I was reading a personal development website which talked about goals. The author said what we think about is what we bring about. In Paul's terms, if we keep thinking about the past failure, we won't be able to reach the goal. If we constantly talk about or think about bad things, we can't be thinking about the goal ahead, and our past becomes our future.

Forgetting is not easy, because real electrochemical things happen when we experience (and when we think about) anything. Dendrites are formed in our brains, and they never go away. But they grow stronger by rehearsing them, re-thinking about them. The only way to forget is to replace the thought with one more vivid and more well-rehearsed. Every day, we need to place the goal in front of us. The more time we spend looking ahead, the less time we will look back.

Learn from it; then put it aside. Focus on the goal of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. And then strive to reach the goal.

May we all have a blessed 2008.