2Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.PHILIPPIANS 3:2
The early Christian church had a problem. The problem was that those who were new to the faith were being persecuted and harassed by those who wanted to lay unnecessary religious burdens upon them – a concept we generally refer to as legalism.
Today’s church continues to have the same problem.
The apostle Paul had little patience for these types of folks, calling them dogs and evildoers. He knew that in Christ there is true freedom, and not just a new, different, shinier set of chains. Life in Christ is a life free from chains, free from bondage, free from lies and deception, free from having to be ‘good enough’, free from ‘box checking’, and free from fear.
…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attainedPhilippians 3:13-16
Paul had to deal with these types the rest of his life, and perhaps you have dealt with them as well. When we are attacked by these evildoers, and stand up for truth against their scheming, it will often lead to being ostracized and gossiped about. It can be painful to watch as they prosper as those who stand in the freedom of Christ suffer for doing good.
A root of bitterness can grow in our lives, and leave us empty and frustrated. This is why Paul encourages us to forget what lies behind. Paul encourages us to dwell not on the past and what could have been or should have been, but dwell on what lies ahead, fixing our sights upward on Christ.
Forget what lies behind. Forget the legalism. Forget the sin that drags you down. Forget the regrets, forget the mistakes, and press on toward the goal. Press on towards the prize.
In Christ we are more than conquerors, but Satan will use every weapon at his disposal against you. Including legalist evildoers.
Leave all that behind. Forget what is in the past, and press on to the freedom and full life that are yours in Christ.