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 (NIV)
My two year old is becoming more independent every day. “My turn!” “Mine!” “No Daddy!” She has a great desire to do things on her own, but more than that, she wants to do what she sees me or Mommy doing. This has caused her numerous experiences of frustration and disappointment as she doesn’t have all she needs to do what I or Mommy can do. To her credit, she does not give up, and just like other two year olds, she gets better with time and repetition.
My ten year old is a perfectionist. She expects to get things right and can get to the point of tears over poor grades or simple mistakes. She has improved in this area and is more forgiving of herself, but it will continue to be an area of growth. She is learning there is a difference between doing her best and doing THE best. One is what she can do and the other is what she working toward being able to do.
Paul, with all of his experience, education and heritage, realized he was not quite like Jesus yet. He also realized that there were steps beyond salvation to get us to holiness. If being saved was the sum total of Christian experience, why would Paul tell us to press on toward something more? While salvation gets us out of hell, pressing on gets us closer to heaven.
The challenge for us is to not get frustrated when holiness eludes us. We must press on. In the same way that I encourage my girls to try it again, overcoming frustration and difficulty, so God encourages us through Paul to just keep trying. It is too easy to be like my two year old and want to do everything on my own. It is too easy to expect perfection like my ten year old, and live with frustration and failure. But God just wants His children to grow and mature in His time and His way; to learn patience and grace for the journey.
We may not be quite like Jesus, but we keep pressing on because that is the only way to get there and God is willing to wait.
9 responses to “Pressing On: Not Quite Like Jesus”
This is a nice message for all of us, but especially nice for parents of small and large children, too. Thank you.
Good lesson for today!
Intesting in the difference in “doing best” and THE Best. We seem to loose that in our Christian walk.
Life is such a balancing act…knowing when “practicing” becomes strife….being able to accept our “best” which may not be “the best” and having confidence that we are loved by our Father while we journey. I really like how you relate familiar family events and our walk with the Lord! Good job!
Life is such a balancing act;knowing when practicing becomes strife being able to accept our best which may not be the best and having confidence that we are loved by our Father while we journey. I really like how you relate familiar family events and our walk with the Lord! Good job!
Simple, but true and timely. I’m sure elsewhere we are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. I like the fact that in someways we never ‘get’ it. If we did surely we’d be too reliant on ourselves, and not leave any room for God. The fear and trembling is an interesting comment also, but I’m not sure I want to delve into that to much right now…
Good point. It reminds me of Proverbs 30:7-9 “Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (NIV) In the life we live with God there are seeming paradoxes: being content and yet hungering, taking joy in suffering, finding new life through death. I believe that these are only understood as we take on the mind of Christ and this only by “a long obedience in the same direction.” (Nietzsche)
I think I saw a clip of Francis Chan daring people to pray not for what they want but for what they need! Seems impossible at times – far too scary. However I am sure that kind of prayer leads to a more contented life.
By the way, as you can see I am working back through your posts as promised!!!
Phillips Brooks has one along the same line: “Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks.” I think the secret of praying this way is love. Perfect love casts out fear. When our prayers are motivated by our love for God, we can pray bold and meaningful prayers. Thanks for going through these posts. I have really enjoyed your insights.