The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for July 21, 2014

Pressing On

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: 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 3:13-14 (NASB)
In a way it is a bit surprising to hear one so wise and experienced in the faith as Paul admit that he had not yet arrived so far as his relationship to Christ was concerned. Paul says he still has some growing to do.
This is refreshing since religious people so often act as if they have already arrived. We sometimes imply that we know everything and have no growing to do. We project the image of the mature Christian as someone who is fixed, closed, and finished.
Sometimes our professed maturity and sureness may not be as mature as we would like it to appear. Psychologists tell us that the so-called true believer who appears to be rock hard in his or her faith may be in fact engaging in a cover-up of troubling inner questions and insecurities.
Children often have an excessive need to be right because they feel that they are so often wrong. Fanatic believers who are always trying to shout everyone else down may, in reality, be desperately trying to convince themselves. For such people Christianity becomes a hard and fast set of rules, a set of proper opinions which must be adhered to. Doubters must be cast out. No questions. The Christian life becomes a closed club for those who are in the know, and don’t ask questions or change their minds. How different in this view of faith from that which Paul expresses. He says that he himself is pressing on, and he urges the Philippians to do the same.
We are a nation of people who expect everything instantly, in a moment, with no risks or costs or pain. We want to be changed, done over, made perfect now. Who wants to wait for God to make us perfect? Who wants to wait to grow up?
So we reduce Christianity to some simplistic package that you can accomplish quickly and without effort. We thus imply that the Christian life is something petty and inconsequential.
Paul knows better. He knows that, when one is dealing with Christ Himself, there are great expectations, great risks, great changes required which may take a great deal of time and effort.
Therefore Paul tells us to join him in pressing on toward “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

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