“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” Philippians 3:12-15
This week I have had more than one conversation about moving toward Christ and his promise over and above looking back and analyzing sin and brokenness in the past. We are called to repentance, confessing and turning from sin, and then a life of belief that has us looking and moving forward in our faith which in turn makes us more like Jesus. Too often we can come up with cute strategies to conquer our lives. And in these strategies we confuse the work of grace with our own effort and can become critical of past decisions when we are called to look forward.
This happens because we don’t proclaim the gospel. You can not preach the gospel of grace and leave people thinking they have to strive and correct their lives on their own. You can however, preach works and effort and behavior and leave people discouraged and thinking they have to strive and correct their lives on their own. I think this grieves the Holy Spirit and if we find ourselves in this mode we should repent and look forward at the promise of Christ – completion in him.
Hear the words of Paul clearly: “I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” We press on, we look forward and we move forward toward the prize we have in Jesus. Be about this.