I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. – Philippians 3:12-21
We have moved 13 times in our nearly 45 years of marriage. Every time (except maybe for the very first time) we have wondered how we managed to collect so many unnecessary things! Mostly we agree about what is unnecessary. We have given away bags and boxes of clothing and household items. We’ve donated furniture. We’ve thrown out bunches of junk. And I’m not talking about “junque” either. This last move, I actually bought(!) a Bagster® bag. Check it out: it amounts to a heavy-duty bag the size of a small dumpster! Sadly, I nearly filled it before it was hauled to the dump.
Paul speaks of ridding himself of things that he no longer needs. He speaks of forgetting what is past and pressing on toward the goal of the resurrection and the life of the world to come.
In the verses immediately before these, he speaks of jettisoning the things that some might use to recommend themselves to God. He will have none of it. He has no righteousness of his own. He will rely on the power of Jesus to bring him to his eternal home.
We will move one day from this earthly home to our eternal home in heaven. We will experience the miraculous, gracious and good makeover power of God. We will be changed and glorified. The things of this earth will be left behind. We won’t need a Bagster® in order to rid ourselves of them. They will be left to someone else or completely destroyed in favor of the Father’s mansion and the place that Jesus is preparing for us, a place of life, bliss and joyful celebration.
A helpful image perhaps…A very wealthy man dies, but prior to his death he manages to make a deal with an angel to take his wealth with him to heaven. He puts gold ingots into his briefcase and lugs it to the pearly gates. St. Peter asks, “What’s in the briefcase?” The man opens it and proudly shows off his gold bullion. St. Peter asks, “Why did you bring pavement?!?” (cf. Revelation 21:21). Another one for the Bagster® to receive.