Most athletic locker rooms are covered with posters. Each poster has a saying that reminds players of the importance of working hard and being committed to their task. During my coaching days, my favorite saying was, “It’s not how hard you get knocked down but how quick you get up that counts.” Anyone who has played sports realizes being knocked down is a part of the game and each new week brings a different set of challenges. To be a success you can’t feel sorry for yourself when things go wrong, and you can’t become complacent when success comes your way.
While these two principles are secular in nature, there is also a spiritual component to them. The Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul are perfect examples. Peter was willing to die for Christ until the time came to do so. Then, he denied Him three times. Later, he repented and Christ used him in a mighty way. The Apostle Paul had served Christ faithfully, but his past service did not keep him from looking to future work. He wrote, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 3:14). His past successes did not allow him to stop looking forward because he knew there was much to do. The point is that neither man let the past define who he was. Their thoughts were not anchored in the past but they were looking to the future.
We should not allow our past failures to be an anchor around our neck, nor should we let our past successes become a source of pride. Our past, good and bad, will always be with us. Whether it becomes an anchor that holds us back or a launching pad for the future good works depends upon how we deal with it. An anchor or a launching pad, the choice is ours.