Tuesday 28 December 2021
Looking forward, looking upward
By Dr Hew Fen Lee
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Winter solstice, the shortest day in the northern hemisphere was a week ago on 21st Dec. From that day onwards, daylight is going to be longer and darkness of the night is going to be shorter. We don’t feel much of it being near the Equator but the nearer the regions are to the north pole the greater the daylight difference is. The lengthening daylight in regions shrouded with darkness during the winter months gives many a sense of optimism and of better things to come.
The last 2 years has been likened to a long winter for many and emerging from this long winter leaves many with hurts and regrets. There could be some who have thankfully went through the last 2 years relatively unscathed.
Paul here reminds us that we have not yet reached our goal or destination. Notice that Paul is not talking about running a race that will give us salvation. Salvation has already been won at Calvary. Paul was talking about a crown and prize that is meant for Christians only. If we have not accepted Christ we can’t even take part in this race!
But we should not dwell on our past. Paul ignores his past successes and failures as he presses forward expectantly to reach the goal. Do not let our past successes make us complacent nor should we let our past failures paralyse us. Paul wants us to deal with it and move on and let us not be bogged down by issues that affect our race.
Over the Christmas season many in this world may have looked to Santa Claus who is purportedly living in the North Pole where it is still darkness all day and the nearest dawn is still 3 months away. Paul is urging us to focus upon Christ Jesus who is in heaven and who has gained victory over the greatest darkness that ever exist – death.
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord, it is also a time to ignite this light of hope in our lives. A light that will guide us through all the darkest nights in our lives, until Jesus comes again when there is going to be light eternal.
Thank you Jesus for coming into this world and be our light. Though we may stumble and fall in the darkness of this world, you will illuminate our path. Thank you for guiding us like a shepherd and teaching us to focus upon You and the road ahead rather than being distracted by our past. Amen.
12 这不是说，我已经得着了，已经完全了。我乃是竭力追求，或者可以得着基督耶稣所以得着我的。 13 弟兄们，我不是以为自己已经得着了。我只有一件事，就是忘记背后努力面前的， 14 向着标竿直跑，要得神在基督耶稣里从上面召我来得的奖赏。
在圣诞节期间，世上许多人可能都指望据称生活在北极的圣诞老人，那里终日漆黑一片，离最近的黎明还有3个月的时间。保罗敦促我们要专注于在天上的基督耶稣，祂已战胜了有史以来最大的黑暗 – 死亡。