Moving Forward

“Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made it His own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind me and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.”

~Philippians 3.12-16, New Revised Standard Version

“The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought.”

~James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

“Moving Forward” is the title of a song recorded by gospel artist, Israel Houghton. It is my favorite song, my life’s motivation and the words speak deeply to me whenever I hear it. I love the song so much that I bought the album, The Power of One and gave it as a Christmas gift to many of my family members. The song’s lyrics include a portion of my favorite passage of scripture: Second Corinthians 5.16-17. The chorus repeats, “You make all things new. You make all things new. You make all things new and I will follow You forward.”

Israel sings, “I’m not going back. I’m moving ahead. I’m here to declare to You. My past is over in You. Things are made new. Surrendered my life to Christ. I’m moving, moving forward.”  This song celebrates the freedom and healing that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It reminds me that the life of a disciple is a a life surrendered to Christ, never to be taken back but trusting in the redemptive work of Christ and in the power of His teachings. The song’s mention of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ is employed to remind us that we have a second chance, an opportunity to begin again and that our past is of no consequence because Christ makes all things new.

I have a special affection for butterflies because of the transformative process that the caterpillar undergoes and butterflies can be found throughout my study in various forms. A couple of years ago, my husband even bought me a knecklace with a butterfly charm attached to it for my birthday; I wore it almost everyday. Unfortunately, I lost it a couple of months ago during a preaching engagement and I continue to grieve its absence in my jewelry box. I simply want to be surrounded by the promise of transformation, touched daily with a hint of Christ’s newness. I just believe that Christ can and is making me new.

I believe it in all aspects of my life and race is no exception. Race claims that because of the social coloring of my skin that I am somehow bound to the caricatures and stereotypes of blackness, chained to its history of hatred, oppression and injustice, unable to move in any other direction because of it. Sadly, I often find in the American Church that Christ’s claim of regeneration is most doubted when it comes to race. I am often questioned about the race-less life and why I continue to pursue it as a possibility. Persons seem to want to shield me from disappointment, reminding me of America’s past and our present conditions. Their eyes seem to say, “Baby, it’s a good idea. It would be wonderful if it happened but it’s not going to. There’s just too much to forgive.”

But, Christ forgave me and you. Christ forgave and forgot it all. I have not obtained the race-less life but nothing will keep me from straining toward it and no matter what happens, I will not let go of what I have already attained. There’s no going back. I’m not there yet but just knowing that this place of beauty and transformation exists is enough to keep me moving forward so I press on!

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