In a world that, literally, has thousands upon thousands of motivational speakers it is no wonder why we, as Christians, as leaders, sometimes gravitate towards these master orators. But, do we really need to?
Many times after researching these speakers I have discovered that much of their material is directly out of the bible. The difference is that they place a humanistic spin on it, so they leave God out of it. In fact, many of these speakers would claim that you can be your own God; a troubling statement, to say the least.
To get a good grasp on the subject let’s go back to 62 A.D., and look at what the original motivational speaker, the Apostle Paul, spoke about and see what he has to offer.
There were bad people in Paul’s day but not many as severe in their hatred for others as Paul. Paul persecuted Christians w/ a vengeance. Many would call Paul a straight up murderer, but he was loved. He was loved so much that a sinless Savior came down in human form to show him mercy and grace through His death on the cross. This savior was Jesus Christ. And Paul, with the calling from Christ, on the road to Damascus and by the obedience of a Christian named Ananias started an amazing walk for and with God. He was delivered from his sins, and he took God’s promises and moved forward with a passion. Once Paul tasted freedom in Christ there was no stopping him.
My admiration for Paul was his continuous positive outlook and lack of memory! It does not matter what situation Paul was in, he was always rejoicing. Imprisonment – didn’t bother Paul; Shipwrecks – no worries; Whipped and bloodied almost to the point of death – not a problem! Persecuted continually, he was always staying true to the faith – A true man of God.
How could he do this? Could you? Could you live in your community knowing that the authorities and the religious community wanted you imprisoned and possibly dead? Probably not, but Paul could and here is why:
Phillipians 3:13 – “Brethen, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing I do (action step): forgetting what lies behind me and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”
Wow! Paul was the original motivational and empowerment guy. Paul said that no matter what stuff is in the past that is exactly where it stays… in the past. That is his lack of memory. Now look closely at his action step: “reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Did you catch that? He was thinking about the future, he was always moving forward. Why? Because God is an action God and Paul knew this. It does not matter about our past. Once we are covered by the blood of Christ there is no looking back only moving forward.
Paul goes on now to give us the real nugget of truth and to instruct us:
Phillipians 3:14 “I press on toward (he is proactive) the goal of the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Phillipians 3: 15-17 “Let us therefore, as many as are [with knowledge], have this attitude… 16) let us keep living (demonstrating discipline) by that same standard (setting and keeping goals) to which we have attained. 17) Join in following my example (Paul leads by example)… “
So there it is. God tells us to get out of the past. Forget your mistakes or what you could’ve done and get to the good stuff. Reach toward the prize – stretch your arms forward and go for it! God is faithful and once you acknowledge your sins and/or let go of past regrets, God moves forward with you, forgetting your sins and urging you unto the higher calling.