Derek Smith 

Lead Pastor 

Philippians 3:13-15 

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Our family loves playing UNO. If you’ve ever played UNO you know that it is one of the most frustrating card games ever known to man. Possibly the most frustrating piece of the entire game is the “swap hands” card. Yes, you read that right, if someone else gets this card they can actually lay it down and if you’re next in the rotation you have to literally give them your cards and take theirs. This is totally diabolical game play! I refuse to swap hands with one of my kids. How is it fair that they can foolishly play the entire game but with that one card I become the recipient of their foolishness?!! 

In life sometimes we’d love to just swap hands with someone else, but this just isn’t possible. You can’t just give someone else your cards and take theirs. You have to play the hand you’ve been dealt or that you’ve accumulated through your own decision making. Paul was a persecutor of Christians, then Christ Jesus interrupted his life on that Damascus Road and changed him forever. Now everything he once called dear was rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. Although he had not mastered the Christian life yet, there was one thing the Lord had especially taught him… on. Pressing on means playing the cards you’ve been dealt. It means taking personal responsibility for your actions, bringing them to Christ, and continuing on to obey the Lord. He says that this is mature thinking. 

Paul’s encouragement to ius here is to play the cards for Jesus. Press on. Take personal responsibility for your faith and apply what He says. Just acknowledge your sinfulness then press on to obedience. God is not to blame, nor is anyone else, for our lack of commitment, and He has given us everything we need by His grace to glorify Him. So, this year, let’s be mature in our thinking. Forget what lies behind because the past doesn’t define you. Look to the future because the best is always yet to come for the Child of God. Then press on. Pray, obey, give, serve, and go make disciples. It’s amazing how the cards turn out when we just give them to Jesus!