“One thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”
Philippians 3:13 ESV
My father developed an acronym based on this verse. It grew so popular that NFL teams had shirts printed with the letters, and certain MLB leagues put the letters on baseball caps. Some politicians have even quoted it. The letters F-I-D-O stand for “Forget It and Drive On.”
Christians shouldn’t dwell on past troubles or regrets. Rather than beating ourselves up about a situation where we felt embarrassed or getting angry all over again when we remember something someone said or did to us, we need to release it and move on. This allows us to focus on what God wants to do in us and through us today –after all, we are not promised tomorrow.
God never wastes anything we’ve been through. He can use our hurts to shape us and draw us closer to Him. But He also sets a standard we should follow. He continually forgives and forgets. In spite of all the times we as followers of Christ hurt Him and fail, He looks on us and says, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more,” (Hebrews 10:17 ESV).
Had the apostle Paul, a murderer, not chosen to “FIDO” his past, the greatest missionary the world has ever known might have wasted his life by having a pity party instead. When you’re tempted to wallow in what happened yesterday, ask yourself: What might I miss by clinging to what Jesus wants me to forget and leave behind?
Growing up, I remember a commercial on television depicting a stressed-out housewife in her fluffy pink robe walking through a war zone of a home. The dog had tracked mud on the carpet. Dinner was burning. The children were crying, and the phone was ringing off the hook. The camera zoomed in as the frazzled female looked to the sky and exclaimed, “Calgon, take me away!” The next frame showed her relaxing quietly in a luxurious bubble bath scented by the moisturizer. The commercial was effective. I wanted to buy some beads.
I’ve been looking for a Calgon escape of my own recently. The reality is, regardless of how nicely scented they are, bath beads can’t “take us away” – and, even if they could, the problems would still be there when we dried off! That’s the world for you. It is not encouraging us to press on in the troubled times of life, but rather endorsing how to get out of them.
God’s Word, however, teaches us differently. The Bible is clear storms are a fact of life. We are never guaranteed a comfortable life, but rather a comforted one. God’s promise is that He is with us. Psalm 91:15 says, “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” The Lord assures us He won’t abandon us in the midst of hard times. He even pledges to transform us through them.
There will be more manic Mondays, wacky Wednesdays, and freaky Fridays. Don’t think those Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays won’t throw you, too. However, I like what I’m learning. I cannot say it better than Annie Flint when she penned:
Not always OUT of our troubled times,
And the struggles fierce and grim,
But IN – deeper IN—to our sure rest,
The place of our peace, in Him.
One of the most memorable days of my life was the privilege of assisting Governor and Mrs. David M. Beasley host President George H.W. Bush at the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion. I have other candid shots of President Bush sitting on the floor with the Beasley children and me playing marbles and spinning a yo-yo.
President George H.W. Bush was a highly decorated Navy pilot who flew in World War II, ultimately becoming America’s forty-first Commander in Chief. When this picture was taken, Senator Strom Thurmond was standing beside the photographer cracking jokes. President Bush was dishing ‘em right back. As hard as I tried, I could not maintain my composure.
Truly, a gem of a gentleman who loved his Heavenly Father, his family, his fellow man, and our flag.
“Take courage. I am here!”
Matthew 14:27 NLT
The disciples were afraid. A storm had developed at the darkest part of the night while they were in the middle of a lake on a boat. Jesus came to them walking on water telling them that everything was going to be okay. He was with them.
An old mariner’s map drawn in 1525 is on display in the British Museum in London. On the unexplored areas along the North American coast is scribbled: “Here be dragons,” “Here be giants,” and “Here be fiery scorpions.” In the early 1880s, the map came into the possession of British explorer Sir John Franklin who didn’t fear the unknown because He so fully trusted what He did know.
Rubbing out the terrifying inscriptions, he wrote: “Here be God.”
It’s easy to feel like the disciples being tossed by the waves and that scared mapmaker. We can survey our unfamiliar situation and want to yank the covers back over our heads and hide. “There be dragons!” we protest.
Through the confidence we have in Jesus Christ, we can face uncertainty with what is certain and proclaim like Sir John Franklin, “There be God!”
“While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable…”
The Good Samaritan. The Prodigal Son. The Good Shepherd. Jesus often taught in parables, which are earthly stories with a heavenly lesson. Many times my mom would encourage us with her own parables of Truth. One was about our dog, Fancy.
My mother and father love animals—especially dogs. For seventeen years, they had a little mutt named Fancy who knew to sit on command. One day, after my father spoke at a church, my dad walked across the road with the pastor. Fancy followed behind. Once across, Fancy looked back and saw my mom on the other side of the road, talking to some ladies. Mom could tell Fancy was thinking about dashing toward her and she feared she’d get hit by a passing car. “Sit, Fancy!” she yelled across the street. Fancy sat. Fancy’s disciplined response saved that adorable dog’s life.
Each of us is a little like Fancy, running through life, unaware of the dangers around us. Often it takes an automatic, disciplined response to God’s Word to avoid trouble. Just as Fancy knew to sit because she was familiar with the command, we can know what is right, and obey it faithfully, the more familiar we are with God’s Word. Whatever God asks of us in Scripture, we can be sure it is for our good.
What Bible truths have you learned that help keep you out of trouble?
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”
Matthew 4:10 NKJV
I’ll never forget visiting Frontier Days with my family. Held annually in Cheyenne, Wyoming, it’s one of the oldest and largest rodeos in the world. When I was there, I saw bull riding and barrel racing. But what sticks out in my mind the most is the time I saw a cowboy take down an angry steer using only his lasso.
When I read Matthew 4:10, I picture Jesus conquering the lies the devil told Him like that cowboy lassoing that raging steer. Satan had just tried to talk the Lord into worshiping him instead of God, but Christ responded by boldly proclaiming that only God is worthy of worship.
I think the Lord is making a good cowgirl out of me as He continuously provides opportunities for me to “lasso” my wayward thoughts, to send bad attitudes and ugly words packing before they do damage. Second Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Jesus commands us to deal with our thoughts and temptations the way He did. We’ve got to know and stick with what the Bible says, refusing to allow the enemy to “steer” us in the wrong direction.