Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Press On

Paul humbly and honestly admitted that he neither had achieved all this (the goals he mentioned in verse 10) nor had reached completion (of absolute spiritual maturity) yet. There is no such thing as sinless perfection in this life. Sanctification is a lifelong process. Spiritual maturity is not about perfection; it's about direction and progress. There's always room to grow spiritually. It's a good reminder for all saints at all stages of spiritual maturity. God never wants us to be complacent with our spiritual growth. Paul exhibited a passionate pursuit of spiritual growth/maturity. He's resolved/determined to press on (as a continual action) to become all that Christ Jesus saved him for/to lay hold of God's purposes for his life. Each new day is another opportunity for us to become more of what God has designed us to be. 

Paul had a one-track mind. His soul's single relentless passion is to press onward towards the goal to win the prize for which God had called him Heavenward in Christ Jesus, with all his might & effort without looking back. You cannot run forward effectively if you keep looking back. What is true physically is also true spiritually! Paul would not let the past (past guilt of persecuting Christians or past glory of his Jewish heritage & all his accomplishments) deter him from striving for what lied ahead and pressing on toward his goal to win the prize. He wanted to focus his energy and concentration on what God calls him to do, fixing his eyes on the finish line. Do not let your past (failures, sins, disappointments, discouragement) define you or distract you from being and doing what God calls you to be and do. Learn from your past mistakes and move on after you confess and repent. They're all forgiven. I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25) Forget (refusing to focus on) all the things you should have done but failed to do and all the things you did which you shouldn't have done. We also must refuse to allow past successes to inflate our pride or to make us think we've arrived spiritually. To dwell on these things can hinder our progress. 

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." (Winston Churchill)
"Onward and upward your course plan today,
Seeking new heights as you walk Jesus' way;
Heed not past failures, but strive for the prize,

Aiming for goals fit for His holy eyes." (Brandt)

"The prize" can be interpreted as eternal glory in Heaven/the blessings of everlasting life, the reward at the judgment seat of Christ (including the crown of righteousness stated in 2 Timothy 4:8 and the crown of glory stated in 1 Peter:4), or Christlikeness/holiness. God calls us to the high calling of fighting sin until we die. We have been saved from the penalty of sin; we are being saved from the power of sin; we shall be saved from the presence of sin. We (like Paul) want to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord." when we finally see Him face to face. "To know Jesus Christ, to trust Him, to love Him, and to serve Him--that is a passion with eternal value." (V C Grounds)  
"Living for Jesus who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv'ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,

Follow His leading, and give Him my all." (Chisholm)
"More like the Master I would live and grow,
More of His love to others I would show;
More self-denial like His in Galilee,
More like the Master I long to ever be." (Gabriel)

To Ponder: What things from your past are still burdening you or holding you back from living passionately and fearlessly for Christ? What is your ruling passion/primary focus in life? Are you sold out for Christ? How/where do you invest your time, talents, and treasures? 
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Who You are and for all You have done for me! I want to know You more and I want to be more like You. Please show me each day what You want me to accomplish for Your purpose and glory. Please help me let go of the past. Thank You for Your forgiveness! Please empower me to keep growing spiritually and running this race faithfully with hope, joy, endurance, and perseverance.

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