Monday, August 5, 2013

Newsflash: We Have NOT Arrived

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers,  I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

Has it ever occurred to you that the Christian life is one of constant striving? According to Paul, there never should be a place where you can sit back, relax, and announce that you "have arrived". Nobody, not even the 'greats' of the faith like Hudson Taylor, Mother Theresa, and Billy Graham "have arrived". In fact what makes them so 'great' in our estimation may be the fact that they would be the
first to admit it. Can you take a guess at the one Person in all of history who "arrived"? Yup. Jesus Christ.

And what is Paul saying my life goal should be? To paraphrase v.12: to find out why Jesus saved me. To find out what He saved me for. Cause there is a reason. There is a plan for you, a purpose, a job God has for you and you alone to complete to bring Him glory. It is what He created you for and it is why He saved you. It is your life's goal to find out what "it" is.
Exclamation mark.

Oh, it is hard to pull yourself free of the mindset that you are "better" and more "mature" than others, and therefore it is okay to sit back and drag your feet a little spiritually. Maybe not fight sin as aggressively. Maybe not pursue Jesus, the Lover of your soul,  like He is everything you need and want.

I understand how difficult it is, especially if/when you are in fact more mature than the other kids in your youth group. And if you compete in NCFCA, that may place you on another level in your mind.

But don't be mistaken.
Please don't be mistaken.

God's calling on you is just that: on YOU!! And only you. He doesn't care how you line up next to your sister, or brother, or peers, or anyone! He cares how we line up next to His Son. "What!?!" you say. "How am I ever going to be that perfect?"

Precicely. God's goal is to conform us to the image of His Son. We only get finished in heaven, so it makes sense that Paul would say "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead".

Paul is saying; "Look! I am not finished yet! I haven't arrived! So I am going to strain and press on and forget what is in my past so that my eyes can always be fixed on the prize: Jesus Christ!"

So this is my plea to you, fellow young person: Don't waste the opportunity you have to press on and strain forward. There are 2 reasons you do this:

>"to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me"
>"to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus"

Make those things your life goals!! Resist the temptation of allowing yourself to think that maybe you "have arrived". Make it your ambition, your abiding zeal, to attain those 2 things above. It will take a lifetime. But it will be worth it. Please join me.

P.S.--There is one major thing that will always help "set you straight" when it comes to how highly we think of ourselves. Look to Jesus' example in His Word. If you stay in the Word, chances are you will also stay in the right frame of mind. :)
 Listen to My Pastor's recent sermon on this passage (Phil. 3) It is an exposition of what I just talked about. It is super helpful.