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Keep moving forward!

By Joseph Perry

Have you ever wished that you could go back to a certain time in your life? A time when things were better?

That’s what a lady told me this past week. She said, “I just wished I could go back to yesterday, when things were different for me, when things were better.” She went on to say, “I’m so exhausted with dealing with all that’s going on right now.”

What we need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring us to this very moment, and this is the moment we can choose to make everything in this moment of life still work right now.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church, he wanted to encourage them to keep pressing forward in life. It’s important to encourage people as they go through life, as we are challenged on so many ways that some of us couldn’t ever imagine. It’s important to share with the people whose lives we cross, because so many times they need to be lifted as they are confronted with various troubles. Paul tells the Church, “Brothers and Sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do. Forgetting which 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.” (Philippians 3:13 NIV) In so many words, Paul is saying, you have to just keep it moving.

It is true, as the lady was sharing with me, that there are times when the thought crosses our mind that we desire to go back to an earlier time in our lives when things were better, when life was easier than the way things are now. The truth of the matter is we change every day; we get either better or either worse in some way every day. We are by no means who we were before, we are different.

You may not believe it, but none of us stays the same. If we could go back and stand where we stood before, things would not be like they were then. Why? Because we have changed. Our walk through this life is determined not by how much we look back, it’s how much we look forward. Of course, we can learn from the past by looking back, but only if we look back to learn and gain insight. Desiring to go back causes us to stop and focus on that which is behind us and it takes up too much time that the Lord has given us to glorify Him.

We tend to forget the darkness of the past, and we have a tendency of remembering only the good, and forgetting the bad and the ugly. Moving forward in life pushes us to new opportunities. If we stayed in the same state in life, we would miss the opportunities that await us.

Lastly, we need to know that in this world, we have so many options. You and I have options to choose to live life to the fullest. It does not matter what season you are in; you have an option to live, and to live again. Don’t dwell on the past, but focus on moving forward. When you make up in your mind to keep moving forward regardless of the chaos or the criticism you face, know that one day you will transition from this level of life and move on to a new one. Reach for the prize that still awaits you, keep moving forward.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Perry is pastor of St. Mark AME Zion Church. Contact him at josephp134@gmail.com.