Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Forget It!

All of us who are mature should take such a view of these things. Philippians 3:15 (emphasis mine)

As a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up. My parents encouraged me to enjoy where I was; they knew what lay ahead. Now, with perfect 20/20 hindsight, I realize how right they were. God however, encourages us to return to the state of unencumbered wonder and belief in the impossible. I can’t seem to find my way back there easily.

Now I’m older (I didn’t say old). I’m supposed to be wise, act my age (whatever that means) and be mature. How does one do those things and still be child like?

Children have the ability to believe that despite previous circumstances and situations, this time things really can turn out differently. How can they do this? What’s their secret? They know how to forget.

Paul learned that when he let go and forgot his past accomplishments he was free to discover newer and better things. Always being right wasn’t that important. When he gave himself permission to not have all the answers it opened him up to possibilities that were, well, impossible.

Paul rediscovered wonderment; the ability to be amazed. Even simple things could be profound. For him the mature, grown up approach was, forget it! Hmm. Easier said than done, but an overlooked key to living out the life Christ died to give us.

This doesn’t mean we discard valuable lessons; that's foolishness. Make a mistake and we learn how not to do something. With that issue settled we’re free to explore new venues to solve our problems or reach our goals. What often hinders us from moving forward and trying something different? Fear. We hate to lose. Those who won’t quit are more likely to succeed. In our instant society success usually doesn’t happen overnight. It may take longer than we planned, cost more than we budgeted and be harder than we ever imagined. The end result will be worth the energy and resources expended to see things though to completion.

Paul didn’t advocate a quick fix. He used words such as forgetting, straining (verse 13) and press (verse 14). These indicate continuous, labor-intensive activity. Time alone won’t produce wise, smart people. Sweat equity is also involved. The challenge is to grow up and still maintain that child-like innocence.

It seems counter-intuitive to our sensible, adult brains to revert to child-like wonder. We understand what life’s really all about, or do we? Jesus said if we didn’t become like little children we’d miss the Kingdom of God. Are our sophisticated, logical and mature thought processes worth holding onto if it means we’ll miss out on God’s way of doing things? Forget it! 

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