“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 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. 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.” (Philippians 3:8-9, 12–15, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Forgetting things we’ve done is usually considered a bad thing, a sign of getting old. Like Earl we can try to put a positive spin on it, and joke about it, but deep down it concerns us that “father time” is gaining on us. But there is something positive happening as time marches on, or at least there should be. We are not just growing old. Hopefully, we are continuing to mature.
So, when is forgetfulness a sign of aging versus a sign of maturing?
- Aging – the progressive change in an organism that leads to an increased risk of debility, disease, and ultimately death. Forgetfulness associated with aging is an involuntary physiological process where we increasingly forget the good and the bad. Facts, memories, relationships, ability to recognize familiar places, words and objects. “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (Job 14:5, 14, NIV 1984).
- Maturing – becoming more developed mentally, emotionally and spiritually, behaving in a responsible way. Forgetfulness associated with maturing is a the ability to voluntarily choose to “forget” things that can so easily entangle us and hamper our ability to develop and move forward. It is selective. We remember the lessons learned so as not to repeat them as we move forward, but forget and refuse to wallow in the guilt and shame that can hold us back. The key to this spiritually is confession and repentance. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV 1984).
My Advice –“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18, NIV 1984). Strain “toward what is ahead.” “Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [you].” “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.”