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Archive for January, 2013

“. . . But this one thing I do: Forgetting what 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.” – The Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:13b (NIV)

Now a few weeks into the New Year, how are your resolutions coming along? This seems to be the season that we reflect on the past and resolve to live life differently in the days ahead.

As I write this, we are only hours past Lance Armstrong’s televised interviews with Oprah Winfrey. What is clear to everyone aware of his story is that Lance’s actions were not simply those of a man who got turned around and lost on his way to winning seven Tour de France titles. His doping practices were completely intentional and thoroughly covered up. He’s got a lot to answer for and his glorious past is now in tatters.

He was a courageous sports hero, now he faces a greater challenge  – moving on.

How he will recover from this tragedy will be anyone’s guess. My take on it is that Lance, still being a very determined individual, may recover very well. However, gaping holes in his soul will be difficult to fill and there will always be negative public opinion which will follow him – perhaps the rest of his days on earth.

I know from personal experience that Lance’s courage to tell the truth and move on will serve him better than continuing to live a lie – multiple lies at that. Even though our personal victories and failures are not on the scale of a Lance Armstrong or a Tiger Woods, if you and I are honest, there are things in our past that we are ashamed of and would be loathe to tell in public.  Most of us would be horrified to find our secrets and poor decisions being published in the newspaper or  “going  viral” across the internet.

This is why I really appreciate what the Apostle Paul says in the book of Philippians. He’s forgetting what is behind and straining ahead toward glorious things God has in store for him down the road. Look at the wider context in this chapter when you have a chance. He’s not completely ignoring his past, but he’s certainly not stuck there!

On another occasion Paul identified himself as “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). It is worth noting that he is not talking past tense – but present tense. Paul doesn’t minimize his own sin, but maximizes the Grace of God in Jesus Christ. The Gospel – which is the Good News of Jesus Christ is that we have a Savior who went to the Cross for all our wretched failures and offers us complete forgiveness and freedom from the past –  with open arms.

I personally don’t know where Lance Armstrong stands before God and whether he has a personal faith in Jesus Christ. I certainly know that for Lance, the Apostle Paul and all of us sinners, Jesus offers us grace and a glorious future, regardless of the mess we may have made of our lives up to this point.

Jesus Christ gives us the choice today and every day to take Him by the hand, and move on in the best sense of the word toward personal freedom and a glorious future. Because simply put, Jesus Christ is the only one who can take us there.

Perhaps it’s high time that Lance and all of us “move on” –  with Him.

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