One of the key components in knowing who you are is understanding what makes, or has made you, who you are. Individuals who know who they are walk with confidence. They stay the course. They are described like the Apostle Paul. When it was said of him and about him, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith. When you are so aware, or vigilant, about who you are and what you have been called to do, it simplifies life. You filter everything through that knowledge.
A good understanding of who you are is the best filter. It allows you to say yes to the things that align with where you want to go. That knowledge also allows you to say no to anything that doesn’t align with where you want to go. If you don’t filter decisions through your vision, and knowledge of where you want to be, you will be quite frustrated.
A basic example of this can be found in marriage. Your vision on the day you get married is to stay together till death do you part. That’s the vision, now every decision must be filtered through that thought. You have to ask yourself, is what I am saying yes to going to get me the goal of staying together with the one I married. Saying yes to a situation that will make you vulnerable to another decision would be eliminated. For instance, I never say yes to riding with, or meeting, another woman if I am alone. I say no to meetings that would complicate my marriage. You see, by never putting myself into those situations, I never have to answer any other question, or make a decision about what happens next. I am saying yes to my relationship with Melissa, by saying no to any situation that could make me vulnerable. Often times, the best yes is a good no! I know that I want to spend the rest of my life with Melissa, that’s the filter. Therefore, I filter decisions through that vision.
The Apostle Paul gives us an example of this as well. Paul was very aware of who he’d been before Christ. He knew that He had an unsatisfied longing in his heart, and that it wasn’t satisfied until he encountered Christ. Now that Paul has had a great change in his life, his Damascus road experience, he’s filtering everything through this vision for his life. His goal, or vision, was the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 (New King James Version)
That goal now becomes the filter. Look at what he says prior to this verse.
“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. 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…” Philippians 3:12-13 (New King James Version)
I haven’t achieved what I want yet, but I am trying to get there. Even though Paul hadn’t achieved it, he’s showing us the decisions that we must make. Here, Paul said, I focus on this one thing. He’s filtering out anything that doesn’t help him get where he wants to go. Mainly, considering Paul was well aware of his past, as were others, he’s letting that go. Paul is saying yes to his plan of pressing in, going after his call of God on his life, by saying no to the weight of his past. Paul is proving the best yes, is a good no. Could it be that your best yes to God, is to say no to holding your own past against yourself?