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Guarding Against The What If's

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

I was reading an article about Michael Phelps (the world's most successful Olympian) return from retirement to compete in the 2016 Olympics.  A few years back I watched a special interview with him following his successful 2012 Summer Games.  I found some of his statements to be very profound and applicable to our lives as Christian men and woman. 

Phelps talked about his attitude and training following the 2008 Beijing Olympic games where he won 8 gold medals in swimming competitions.  He spoke about how he didn’t take his training seriously for 2009-2010, saying, “My workouts were hit and miss the first two years.  My trainer would have to escort me to the weight room every day because I would find back entrances to ditch out of so I wouldn’t have to lift weights—I'd always take shortcuts.”

Phelps knew he wasn’t doing what he needed to do if he was going to be successful, and so he came to a conclusion; something had to be done.  Michael said, “I knew that if I wanted to get serious it meant doing some things I didn’t want to do.  I was getting out of bed and going through the motions — I had to be the one to change it; nobody else could do it for me.”

I think we can all relate to what Michael Phelps went through in his effort to train properly. It can be in our efforts at school, or in the workplace; it can be in our effort we put forth in a relationship with a friend, family member, our spouse, or even in our relationship with God.  In any case we might find the same thing Michael Phelps found; we are simply getting up and going through the motions — we aren’t putting our best efforts out continuously, and we are probably justifying why we don’t. 

Phelps said something else very interesting — something causing him to change.  He said, “The biggest thing I didn’t want is a 'What if?'  What if I had gone four more years?  What if I would have worked harder on this?  What if I had done that?”

I think each and every one of us can play the “what if game” with respect to some of the choices we have made.  We can ask ourselves, “What if?” and begin to wonder what might have been if we had made different choices.  This can be healthy, so long as it fuels us to make good, healthy choices in the future.  It can also be very painful and costly if we choose to continue to hang out in the cesspool of the enemy’s condemnation for the poor choices we have made.

Let’s not fall for Satan’s temptation to remain in the bondage of guilt because of our bad choices.  The enemy knows we will not be winners in our Christian walk if he can keep us there reminiscing over the “What if’s” of our past.  Instead, let’s choose to learn from those bad choices and allow our experiences to give us the wisdom to make better choices now and in the future.  Let’s take those poor choices and allow God to use them for something good (Rom. 8:28).

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these things.  Seek God’s Word for His will for every choice you make today.  Choose to do our best in living for God, rather than just going through the motions.  Let’s not wait until we get face-to-face with Jesus and say, “What if?”

STUDY QUESTION: According to Philippians 3:13-14 what can we learn about how we handle our past and future?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: We get to decide whether we will go through the motions in our Christian walk or whether we will compete in a way worthy of our calling.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for helping me to see how I am to remain diligent in my Christian walk.  Help me to be empowered and equipped to walk worthy of my calling today.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000