Moving right along, the racing season is in full swing, fans are back, masks have been lowered, and dare we say some semblance of normality has returned. One thing left to do, move forward from here. This week Todd Heft steps in to share some thoughts about moving forward. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Things around the country continue to move forward after 2020, where everything seemed to come to a standstill. Paddocks have more racecars and grandstands are starting to fill up. The hustle and bustle of the racetrack is back.

Moving forward is a good thing. Moving up through a large field of cars when you start in the back and moving up in the points standings make you want to come back for the next race. Gathering race finishes that see a steady upward trend give a team and driver hope. What does it look like, though, to move forward in Christ?

Starting from the time you accept Christ into your life, your life will begin to change and shift in small incremental changes. Your faith will move forward as you grow in your love and desire for Him in much the same way as your desire to do better on the racetrack. 

The amazing and wonderful thing about God is that he doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves up before coming to him. He wants us now, just as we are. From there He will help us make those small incremental changes that will result in significant gains over time. He will shape and mold us as we allow Him into our lives.

Our journey can be compared with a 500 or 600-mile race as opposed to an 8-lap heat race. Preparation for the long haul is different from a short trip. There are things that will matter in the future that may seem insignificant now. God holds the future in His hands and He alone knows the adjustments we need to make to move forward.

Think of it like a driver that switches teams or maybe gets new equipment. From one season to another, the transformation may or may not be significant but moving forward the results should be different. Paul’s words remind us how we should look different:

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

We shouldn’t look the same as our old selves as we move forward in Christ.

Racecars don’t have giant mirrors and tiny windshields because what is happening behind you isn’t all that important. When we’re on our journey in life, it’s important to note what is behind, but it’s what’s ahead, our prize in Christ, that truly matters. We are reminded;

Proverbs 4:25 ESV; “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” 

In 1986 I attended my first NASCAR race, and it was a wild one. Typically, if your car ends up stuck in reverse, you don’t win the race. Going backward around the track isn’t the fastest way. Moving forward is the ideal way. However, in this race, Tim Richmond briefly got stuck in reverse but went on to win the race in a 3-way photo finish. This stuck in reverse was then dramatized in the movie Days of Thunder.  

Jesus knew the importance of looking forward. He also knew exactly the right examples to use when speaking. 

Luke 9:62 ESV; “Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.””

To the people of that time, plowing the field meant keeping a focus on the line they were making. They would focus on a point in the distance and put their hand to the plow. Looking behind would mean going off course and your field not producing as good of a crop. 

All the way back to Genesis, we see God telling us not to look back but look forward. In Genesis 19:26, Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This was precisely what God had told them NOT to do. What happened? God turned her into a pillar of salt. Our past is exactly that, the past. While we can learn from it, we must remember that Christ has already paid for that, and we can now be free from it. The prophet Isaiah said it pretty simply:

 Isaiah 43:18 NIV; “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” 

So, what does it take to leave our past behind? How do we move forward in a way that honors God? First, we spend time with Him. The closer we draw to God, the further we are from the things of our past. That doesn’t mean we get it right all the time. None of us do. But like making gains at the track week after week, we can do the same in our lives. Small increments add up over time. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Philippians.

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV; “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” 

God is calling us to move forward in him. Our eternal home and hope aren’t on this earth but with Him. We need to live our lives looking forward, put behind us the past things and drive forward towards our salvation in Christ.

Thanks, Todd, for sharing this week. Appreciate all your efforts and the efforts of our entire group of chaplains to help everyone move forward. Until next time, remember God loves you