Friday, January 13, 2006

Maturity

Like it or not, I have reached a point in life where more lies behind me than lies ahead. From this "over the hill" vantage point, Paul's words to the Philippians seem to have a new emphasis.

I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. (Phil. 3:12-15)


What then, at this point in my life, with so many closed chapters (many pleasant - those are always the hardest to leave behind) is to be my continued goal? "To become all that He has saved me for." I most certainly must echo Paul's words when he says, "No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be..."

What will this require? "A focus of energy: forgetting what is past and looking ahead with expectancy."

Is this challenging for me? Yes. It most certainly requires just that - a focus of energy.

"For the Joy set before Him ... "

Recent words shared by a dear brother exhorting us to be "not slothful in zeal" brought to mind the realization that zeal is a precious and guarded commodity. It is in our keeping; it is not some magical substance that either is or isn't ours. We find here that Paul is challenging the "mature Christians" in Philippi to attain unto this very thing.

It is the one who has been running for some time who must be reminded to keep in the race. The starters are fresh, still filled with the excitement of the challenge. For some odd reason, although they are further from the goal line, they are more expectant of completion. The ones who have been faithfully running (not perfectly running, but are still in the race) understand more fully the challenge - they are the ones who need the reminder.

This was the first time I noted his address to the "mature Christians" (and how many times have I read these very verses!?)
"Mature Christian (read: been at it a while). Yup - that would be me."
"Listen up and learn."
"Got it. I press on, Lord. I press on. And Your goodness which will continue to be shown to me and those I love, will give me hope. Your joy will give me strength. And I will not look back, but ahead. I know You are in the future as well as the past and the moment. The same today, yesterday, and forever. You are God."

2 Comments:

Anonymous ethan thomas said...

your posts are so enriching. it's a blessing to read them! the pictures were from RWC's student production of "Godspell" in the spring of 2004. it is a small cast - it's a 10 person ensemble show. i've never seen or heard of it being more than 10, but i'm sure it could be made bigger. it's really a great show, based of the gospel of Matthew. steven schwartz wrote the music for it and it's amazing!

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Yojan said...

Good to see another person reaching and striving for maturity through every stage of life. It's too easy to sit being saved and call it a day with that!

God Bless!
Yojan

10:15 AM  

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