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Press On – Phil. 3:7-14
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Philippians 3:7-14 (paraphrased) - “I see now that everything else is worthless compared to the wonder of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I’ve given up everything else and consider it trash. I only want to have Christ and to know that I belong to Him. I am right with God because of Him. All I want is to know Christ and even suffer for Him… I have not completely gotten there, I am not yet perfect, but I forget about what is behind me so I can reach for what is still ahead. I press on to lay hold of what God promised by calling me in Christ.”
Nothing is worth comparing to the glory of Christ and to have Him is to have everything that’s good. God asks us to let go of all the vain and empty things that we hold on to so that we can take hold of Him. In Him we gain love, peace, joy, and real life – forever. We are right with God through faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross where He bled and died for our sins, that we might be forgiven and made new and progressively transformed into His likeness. We are not yet perfect in this life, but God has promised us perfection in Him. He promised us this when He called us to His Son. For as Scripture says, “Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old has gone, all things are made new.” (2nd Cor. 5:17). Sometimes, it’s hard to see how He’s making us new. Sometimes, all we can see is the wrong that we’ve done and how far we are from where we should be. But Scripture also says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).” We are forgiven and everything we’ve done wrong has been forgotten by God and so we should forget it too. Forget about what you’ve left behind and don’t turn back for another long look like Lot’s wife did and was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:26). What was left behind need to be left (at least for now), though not all of them were evils of themselves, but God prunes us as necessary in order that we might bear fruit (John 15:2). So instead of looking behind you at what you’ve done or what you’ve lost, fix your eyes on Jesus – the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) – and reach for all that lies before you in the promises of God.
Are you in the midst of trials and suffering? He promises comfort and deliverance. Are you in the midst of doubts and fears? He promises His unfathomable peace. Are you in the midst of sorrow and grief? He promises you joy in His presence. Are you tired of sin and temptation? He promises to conform you to the image of His Son who never sinned, and He promises that you will one day be perfect and free of sin forever. Therefore, God says to you, “Don’t be tired of doing good. Your reward is coming, so don’t give up.” (Gal. 6:9). You may feel so very far from the goal, but what matters to God is that you keep moving forward, that you press on despite the setbacks and stumbling block along the way. Stay in the race and keep going, for you will finish one day. When the race is over, all you will hear God say is, “Well done.” This race is not about speed or agility (that is, “jumping over” the “hurdles” in our way) but it is about endurance and perseverance.
So we pray, “Our God, how wonderful You are – Your love is better than life (Psalm 63:3). We thank You that You make us new and that by the power of Your Holy Spirit in us and by Your Word, You transform us into the image of Christ. With this promise and this goal set firmly in our hearts and minds, help us to press on. Help us to set aside everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles that we might run with perseverance the race that is before us (Hebrews 12:1). Help us to keep our eyes on You, Jesus. Help us to forget what we were, where we’ve been, and the things we have left behind. May we continue to reach for You, trusting in the promises You’ve made. By Your grace, may we be one step closer every day and help us to never give up. Remind us that the end is in sight. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who lives in us and is at work in us giving us the desire to obey You and the power to do what pleases You (Philippians 2:13). To You be all glory forever and ever. Amen!”
Trash – refuse, dung
Press on – proceed, advance, move forward
See the song: All My Heart
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