Full Stride and Forward Focused

My brother was a strong high school track athlete competing on a strong high school team. I enjoyed going to his meets to cheer him on, and I remain a track and field fan still. I remember the day a competitor blazed down the track and, knowing he was comfortably in the lead, looked back at the others behind him, eased his stride, and flashed double-peace signs several paces before breaking the tape. When the times for the event were announced moments later, his was one tenth of a second above his school’s record, prompting from him an audible cry of anguish at an opportunity lost. To my knowledge, he never did set the new mark.

In a sense, I think we believers run much of life’s race looking backwards by living in regret of past wrongs or languishing in a pool of past pains. Clearly, there is great value in confessing our sins, forgiving those of others, and confronting the reality of our hurts. Yet our purpose, effectiveness, and destination in Christ all lie before us. Paul grasped this well, shedding the weight of his sordid past and living into his call: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . .  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.”1 His real and regrettable past was neither defining nor debilitating to his future; his eyes were on the prize.

The same must be true of us, for “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”2 We are free to flourish, for Paul’s words to the Corinthians remain true for believers of every time and space: “You were set apart for God-like living to do His work. You were made right with God through our Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God.”3 Our most impactful and meaningful Kingdom work lies ahead, and we are equipped to pursue it. So let us run full stride and forward focused in our race to the end—losing none of the opportunities before us, but living daily into our call.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18-19

Father, You have redeemed us from our brokenness and established us for Your great purposes. What can we say, but thank You! Draw us near, that, today, our sights would be on You and our actions aligned with Your purposes for us. Amen.

1 Philippians 3:12-14
2 2 Corinthians 5:17
3 1 Corinthians 6:11 NLV

2 replies on “Full Stride and Forward Focused”

As a former runner, I enjoyed this post. I always wanted to give my all and did break some records! I am still running the race with Jesus although I can no longer run with my legs because of an injury. Thanks, Paul, for your writings.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s