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Adopt God’s goals for 2023

December 31, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Philippians 3:10-14

10 The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death 11 so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead.

12 It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. 13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. 14 The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

There were many past regrets and hurts in the Apostle Paul’s life, both self-created and at the hands of others (cf. Acts 9:1-2; 2 Corinthians 11:24-28; 1 Timothy 1:12-15). But in these words, so fitting for New Year’s Eve, he said his main goal was not to let any of those past pains define him, but to grow into all God called him to be. As The Message rendered these verses, “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me…. I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” * Pastor/writer Frederick Buechner said, “The world is full of people who seem to have listened to the wrong voice and are now engaged in life-work in which they find no pleasure or purpose…. We should go with our lives where we most need to go and where we are most needed.” ** Paul found the goal that gave his life joyous meaning, and pursued it with all he had.

  • In verse 13, Paul shared an essential truth in pursuing God’s goals: “I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.” Your past need not define you. Spiritual growth is a process that focuses on what is to come, not what lies behind. Are you letting anything from your past define you in the present? On this New Year’s Eve, ask God to help you let go of the past, and focus on the present and future. God’s goal for the world is that creation reaches its intended wholeness. God’s goal for his people is that we become the people he desires us to be, leading lives full of love, joy, peace, and hope. What are your goals for your life in 2023? How do they match up with God’s goals for your life?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me a hope-filled future. Help me to forget what lies behind, focus on what is to come, and press on toward your goal for my life and for the world around me. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Steve Schneeberger

Steve Schneeberger

Steve Schneeberger serves as the Resurrection Student Ministries Lead Director. He grew up in Overland Park, graduating from Baker University and the University of Kansas. He has led and taught about youth ministry for over 30 years. He is married to Carol, a middle school counselor, and they have three children (Hannah, Bobby and Michael) and one dog, Buc (named after a hippogriff in the Harry Potter series). Steve enjoys running, playing basketball, watching Netflix and reading.

Today is my wedding anniversary! Carol and I were married 29 years ago and had an epic party following the wedding to celebrate with friends and family. That day was filled with hope and promise for the future. We had everything to look forward to.

Today, 29 years later, we can reflect on our life together with both good times and regrets. Life isn’t always perfect. Yet, Paul says to look forward to that which is perfect with no regrets for the past.

You may or may not know this: Carol and I have lived in two separate cities since I began work at Resurrection 16 months ago. She lives in our home in Florida with our children until our youngest son finishes high school this year. I live in a bedroom in my cousin’s house in Lee’s Summit. We entered this decision together because the Student Ministries Lead Director job seemed like the right move for me and our family. However, we felt it wasn’t right to make my children leave their friends and life-long support systems. So, they stayed in Florida with my wife.

When we made this decision, I wondered if we all would come to regret it. We had no idea what lay ahead. We agreed to take it one day at a time, checking off each day as success on our journey into this new reality while keeping our eyes looking forward to the future.

I’m not saying it has been easy or even preferred. But I can say, “Here we are!” 16 months out from our original decision. All is well. There wasn’t a crisis we weren’t able to handle. Our family connection to one another is unchanged and, quite possibly, better.

Our youngest graduates from high school this coming May. Soon after that, Carol will move to Kansas City. We will have three children in college, cementing our empty nest status, and we will be on a new adventure as a couple. We are looking forward with no regrets.

Every movement in our lives is a challenge, isn’t it? Are we going to ruminate over the past, feeling like we should have done something different? Or do we move forward, looking towards the hope that always rests in the future? I am confident we wouldn’t have made it this far if we didn’t keep our eyes firmly fixed on what was ahead. How about you? What decision from your past can you let go, so that you can set your eyes toward what’s ahead?

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with hope!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Peterson, Eugene H. The Message Numbered Edition Hardback. Navpress. Kindle Edition.

** Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1969, pp. 29-31.