Past, Present, Future
“I press toward the goal. . . .
Brethren, join in following my example.”
Philippians 3:14 & 17
In his painting “An Allegory of Prudence,” the 16th-century Venetian artist Titian portrayed Prudence as a man with three heads. One head was of a youth facing the future, another of a mature man eyeing the present, and the third, a wise old man gazing at the past. Over their heads, Titian wrote a Latin phrase that means, “From the example of the past, the man of the present acts prudently so as not to imperil the future.”
We need that kind of wisdom to overcome the anxiety created by our past failures and the fear of repeating them in the future, an anxiety that can keep us from enjoying life to the fullest right now.
The apostle Paul was able to “forget” his past and anticipate his future (Phil. 3:13-14). This does not mean that his memory was erased; it means that because God had forgiven him, Paul was free of any guilt or pride he may have felt from his past. As he lived in daily fellowship with Christ, trials could only make him more like his Saviour. So he had one driving passion—to know Christ better.
Let us each dedicate ourselves to Christ and follow Paul’s example. The Lord Jesus will enable us to live fully in the present as we gain wisdom from the past and face the future with courage.
Lord God, help me to live my life daily all for You. Use me in Your service, I pray in Jesus name. Amen.