But no other generation that has ever lived on the face of the earth has had as many cares of life as our generation. Never has any generation faced the perplexing problems we face today. Despite all of our efforts and technological advances, misery is being piled on top of misery. Famine and disease stalk many lands. Mankind, both as a whole and individually, stands in dire need.
I believer, however, that the Word of God teaches that we can change things. The devil may have destined us for pain and sorrow, but we can change our destiny through faith in God.
We hold the key to our own destiny and future. God doesn't. God already has done everything He's going to do for mankind. He has made a way of escape. Through the blood redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can have faith to change our destiny while on this earth.
We have two choices: we can either fold our hands and succumb to complacency, or we can look to the fields that are white unto harvest - to the souls who are lost, dying, and going into sin's hell - to those who are bound by the chains of sickness and disease and need help - and go out and bring them in.
Paul says in Philippians 3, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (vv. 13-14).
Forgetting Success, Forgetting Failure
I want you to see something here. The great Apostle Paul said, "I count not myself to have excelled." Then he went on to say, "But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind." That's an interesting statement for this great man of God to make. Not only did Paul have to forget success, he also had to forget failure!
As he was penning those words, I'm sure Paul's mind went back to the day he stood outside Jerusalem and held the coats of the men who were stoning Stephen - and encouraged them.
Some of you say, "I have trouble forgetting my past." You never were the catalyst who encouraged the stoning of one of God's chosen. You don't have to forget that. Paul did.
He also had to forget his success on Mars Hill in Athens with the great Greek philosophers. Paul proclaimed to them the great Greek "philosophy" of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. (It's not a philosophy but Paul presented it to them in that manner to win them and show them who God is.)
This event was a great success in Paul's life. Here was a man from Tarsus, an outpost of the Roman Empire. He once was named Saul. Now he was standing on Mars Hill with the greatest philosophers in Greece - and he matches them word for word and argument for argument through the power of God. That's a great success. But Paul had to forget it.
He also had to forget that he started one of the largest churches in history - the Church of Ephesus. If you'll study, you'll find that the church had between twenty thousand and forty thousand members! That's a pretty good-sized church!
Yet Paul says, "I count not myself to have done anything (or excelled), but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind." Paul forgot success. He forgot failure. He forgot everything that had ever happened to him in the past, because it was history. It couldn't do anything for him now even if he wanted it to.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications