Friday, March 7, 2008

Pressing On

Recently, the Lord has been impressing the words of Philippians 3:12-14 upon my heart and mind. Paul has just finished speaking on counting it all loss compared to the all-surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. Then he says, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on…"

I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I often forget that God Himself doesn't expect me to be perfect. When I fail - and prove I'm not - I'm tempted to listen to the lie of the enemy that says "you'll never get it right". Paul's words strike right at my heart. That's not the right response! I'm called to press on! The original Greek word "dioko" instructs me to eagerly seek after and earnestly endeavor to acquire the ultimate completion of what is yet wanting in me - in order for me to be made whole.

Did you know that for this same reason, Christ has also laid hold of me? As I eagerly seek Him, Christ, by His holy power and influence lays hold of my mind and will, in order to prompt and govern it. His desire is that I come to perceive and comprehend His good, pleasing and perfect will. What a partnership! I haven't got it down pat yet - but praise God - I'm learning!

I've really been having to practice this lately. I've been face to face with a situation that I have been in before - and not done well! My first thoughts were "no, Lord, not this. It's too hard. I can't do it." But He is so gracious! He takes hold of me and says, "this is what we're going to do. We're going to forget what is behind. We're no longer caring how you dealt with this before. You are not the same person that you were then. You are a new creation in Me. You've been radically transformed." Can I just add another "praise You, Lord"!! By the working of Christ's mighty power in me, I'm determined. I'm going to press on!

Is it going to be hard? For Christ? No. For me? Possibly. The implication given in the original text is that it is going to involve stretching myself. Is it my natural reaction to press on based on the Truth of God's Word? Not quite yet but He's changing that! It's still tempting to react based on emotions like the fear of failure. But Christ's voice faithfully echoes in my mind verses like "Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. Yes, I will uphold you with my righteous right arm." (see Isaiah 41:10)

Do you know what else that I learned about the forgetting? The Lord showed me that I need to forget how others have responded in the past too. Forgiveness involves offering other people a clean slate.

And you know what? With every step I take - even baby ones - in the right direction, I am getting closer and closer to the prize! I'm looking for a "well done good and faithful servant"! He's not looking for perfection - just a heart willing to trust that He knows what's best and respond with obedience. Praise the Lord - that comes with great rewards!!

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

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