Due to an illness, this is a re-post from February of 2010. I hope it is a blessing to you.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh– 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
I have heard from various job coaches and employment websites, “A good resume may help you get the job, but it won’t help you keep a job.” This idea that what you have done is far less important than what you are doing and where you are headed comes across clearly in Paul’s statement above. Forget your resume. I don’t believe that Paul is asking us to be like Dory in Finding Nemo, where every moment the past is a blank slate. Where would testimony fit in this kind of viewpoint? What would we do with a passage like, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.”? (Hebrews 10:32 NIV)
I think Paul is warning us not to get stuck in the past, to not become those perennial fixtures at bars, bistros and church pews who share the same stories year after year. They experience a flash of genius, a moment of brilliance or a dispensation of grace and that experience makes an impact. Instead of this moment providing the motivation to turn the page in their story, it becomes a bookmark; their story is on pause and never is complete. And like a story, our lives should be moving toward something; a culmination of events, choices and relationships, woven together by a merciful and just God.
However, you can’t get to the end of the story if you aren’t willing to turn the page. Each page must be left behind to see what is on the next. Paul had a lot of interesting chapters to his story before he met Christ on the road to Damascus. He had one of those amazing testimonies about transformation and redemption. I’m sure he could have told his story again and again for years and impacted many people in his day. But Paul turned the page.
Are you turning the pages of your story? Are you willing to let go of what has been to live what is so you can move toward what can be? Or are you reading the same page over and over again because it is safe and comfortable. Put your trust in the “author and finisher of our faith” that your story is worth turning the page. Someday, someone will need to read your story to help them turn the pages of their own. Turn the page.