Very few things in today’s world have a singular purpose. Spoons can scoop, hold contents, and stir. Plates hold food for consumption and can contain the heat in a pot that has lost its top. A mirror, though, is different. The frame may be decorative, and its placement can be for ascetics, but the mirror itself is meant to reflect.
Visually, when your eyes gaze into a mirror, the reflection you see will expose reality from the perspective of the mirror. But what if you looked into a theoretical mirror? What would you see in the last season of your life? What has this year shown you? What do you see from your past? What can be learned from the reflections that you see?
You may not like what you see in your past, but don’t turn away, sneer, or reject what is revealed in the mirror! First, let’s discuss what Paul says we should do with these reflections:
Philippians 3:13 (KJV) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…
Paul explains that he doesn’t always get everything right: “I count not myself to have apprehended.” What a strong and contradictory statement for such a brilliant and accomplished man! It doesn’t make sense at all! The more I consider this statement, however, the more I think that Paul was looking in a mirror of himself and his past. He decided to take hold of that moment to acknowledge that he did not have all the answers. He shows us how to deal with what we see in a mirror.
- Acknowledge your limitations!
Paul starts this verse and the one prior with the same idea: I don’t always get it right. I don’t have it all together and I don’t have all the answers.
As much as we desire to project perfection and to emphasize strength, acknowledging limitations actually shows great strength! Those limitations provide a proper perspective of “self” and will support the strengths of others! You can’t accomplish it all by yourself…you need help!
Tell yourself the truth! Identify those limitations and acknowledge that they do exist! It takes greater strength to acknowledge your weaknesses than to try to hide them! Facing those limitations serves to push barriers back while simultaneously building courage and character.
In summary, Paul finishes the previous verse by explaining that he may not have a grasp on everything that has happened, nor does he always do right…but he does have a grasp on Jesus!
2 Corinthians 12:10 (KJV) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
There’s unimaginable strength in acknowledgement of your limitations and the identification of your weaknesses!
- Don’t park here!
It’s often been said that you can’t know where you’re going until you understand where you’ve been. Whether you perceive failure or success when looking back, don’t park by it!
You can’t take up residence in your past! No mistake can hold you and no success should restrain you! You have to maintain your engine’s momentum and keep going!
According to Paul, the key elements that prevent you from parking are forgetting and reaching. Paul mentions the importance of letting go and moving forward. Think along these lines: “It happened, and I’m moving on. I can’t let the things of my past define what I seek to obtain.” Stop allowing a painful experience from your past to prohibit the pleasures of your present! Let go! Prepare for the promises of a fantastic future! Don’t park, just keep going!
Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV) Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
- Follow through with today.
Change doesn’t start tomorrow…It starts RIGHT NOW!
It’s humorous and thought-provoking that Paul spoke in the present tense throughout this verse. Even when speaking of the future, he grounded the future in his present. Without clear knowledge of what those “things” are, he reached forth for them in his present.
We’re closing in on the last few weeks of the year, a time when you can expect to hear nearly every resolution under the sun. Unfortunately, very few will have followed through with their resolutions six months from now.
You can avoid a flat tire by making changes in your present! Change started yesterday, so reflect! See where you have succeeded as planned, and where you have stumbled and learned! You didn’t fail…you learned! It may have cost you money, but you learned. It may have been painful, but you learned! The important thing is that you took something away from every experience. And now you have changed: you move differently, think differently, and act differently.
So, look in the mirror. Don’t be shocked by what you see. Embrace those flaws. And learn how to derive motivation from what you DON’T see so that it can become the best part of what you’re GOING TO BE! Every mistake made you who you are, so take courage! Yesterday has ended. And you can begin anew…RIGHT NOW!