Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.-Phillipians 3:13-14
As a teenager, I loved track and field. I was a thrower (discus and shot put), but I really enjoyed all of the events. The longer I participated, the clearer it became that good technique was essential, not just for field athletes, but for the runners as well. I remember watching the 100 meter dash in one of the world class events, perhaps the Olympics, when one of the sprinters set a new world record, but in the last 10 meters, he turned his head to see where his competition was. The commentators noted that if he had not turned his head, he could have shaved another 0.4 seconds off of his time. Technique is essential.
I was thinking about this today as I was pondering my own sinfulness. Often when I sin, my tendency is to look back at it rather than keeping my eyes forward. I ruminate about my failure and wonder why I continue to stumble. This rumination can lead to a sense of despair if I allow it. But that is not what Paul tells us. He says we are to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead. We are to keep our eyes focused on Christ and his kingdom, not on where we have fallen. Our success lies not in our ability to continually brood over our sin, but to look to Christ again and again.
As Robert Murray M'Cheyne once said, "For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely."