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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Next Day

Paul states that he forgets what lies behind in his past and strains forward to what lies ahead in the future. He provides examples of his former life of strict adherence to Jewish law and customs. He does not deny those matters that have defined who he is, but rather lays them aside as something he does not boast about. In Christ Paul has come to see that righteousness, even when blameless, comes not through achievements of the law, but rather through the gift of faith in Christ.

As hard as we may try like Paul to forget what "lies behind us and strain forward to what lies ahead" we often feel like prisoners still chained to our past. Whether it is our efforts to maintain a healthy family relationship, good work ethics or avoid destructive behaviors, these efforts all seem to fall short of other people's expectations and even our own. Through Christ's death and resurrection, we are forgiven and unchained from our past to live a new life from this day forward.

Lord of mercy, forgive us our past transgressions and fill us with your love and compassion so that we might share this joy with others. Amen.

Peter Craig
Gift Processor, Luther Seminary

Philippians 3:4b-14 (NRSV)

4 If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more:
5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;
6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.
8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,
11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this 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 heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.