Never Give Up
Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead . . . let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3.13b, 16 NASB
I respect my son, Eric. He had a good run in sports. Starting with T-ball at the age of seven, he never stopped performing as an athlete. He was a three-sport Varsity starter (point guard, wide receiver, and short stop) for his last two years of Beaverton High School. At his graduation ceremony, Eric was named “Athlete of the Year” as the top pick of coaches from all the high schools in the Beaverton School District. He played for the Knights, Nike’s elite baseball team, and went on to become a Hilltopper for Western Kentucky University’s D-1 ball club. After college Eric played independent ball for the Joliet Jackhammers, Kansas City T-Bones, Ainslie Gungahlin Bears (Australia), Yuma Scorpions, Tijuana Cimarrones (Mexico), and the Edmonton Capitals (Canada).
I closely followed twenty consecutive seasons of my son’s athletic career and loved every minute of it. Eric hoped to break into the majors, but he never did. Eventually, Eric did what every athlete must do . . . hang up his glove (or jersey). It was painful for me when my son announced, “Dad, it’s over.” I did not want it to stop. I enjoyed the combination of Eric and sports far too long to easily give it up.
Here’s what I especially liked about my son’s infield achievements: when Eric bobbled a ball he never looked back. It appeared to have no effect on him. He had a strong history of amazing plays and contributed heavily to many winning teams. So when he made an error he never lost confidence. Eric just kept his eye on the goal of the win.
I bobble the ball on occasion—say the wrong thing, irritate a friend, jump to conclusions, act without grace, behave selfishly, etc. It is hard to make a comeback after an error. But Christ commands me to let go of “what lies behind” so I can always continue “reaching forward.” This means I must “keep living by the same standard” of faith that I have already “attained” through the work God has done is me and the victory He has already given every one of us. The battle has already been won, and if I remember this when a ball inevitably gets dropped, the blow will land more softly.
423 Communities is all about progress, not perfection. One step backward and two steps forward is still progress! Men and women who struggle and occasionally take a blow in the war against the spirit of porneia must forget “what lies behind and [reach] forward to what lies ahead.” It will not help the team if we quit. The game is not over yet. There are still crucial innings left to play. Find support from the members of your 423 group and, in the words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.”
Contributor: Dave S. (adapted from Hang Up My Glove? Not Yet!)