Pressing On, Straining Forward

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. Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) 

Each of us continues to press on toward the goal, the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. What on earth does that mean? How can such a thing be made practical for you and I apply to our daily lives?

Pressing on toward holiness. That will evoke a vast difference of thoughts for each person reading this today. Holiness is God's standard for us, it is what He has made us in Christ. He desires we become. This is a positional statement, it is a state of being. We have been chosen to "be" holy as much as we have been chosen to "be" women. It is something God determined we would be before time began (Ephesians 1).

Since we have been chosen and have been made holy in Christ the outflow of that reality is that we live as though it is true. "Be holy as I am holy" the Scriptures say (1 Peter 1:15,16). To live holy I may have to eliminate things that are not going to reflect the truth about me. It could mean that I have to clean up my language or not watch certain programs or movies anymore because they lead me away from holiness. It could mean starting things like Bible reading and prayer if these have not been a consistent part of my life because these things will lead me to respond as one who is practicing holiness.

Pressing on toward righteousness. Each Christian has been made righteous through Christ who is our righteousness. (2 Cor. 5:21) "Christ our righteousness" This is a positional truth and it means that when God looks on you and me He does not see our unrighteousness, He does not see the works we do in our vain attempts to be righteous without Him. What He sees is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ as though it covered us like a robe. That is the positional part of being righteous. The other aspect of righteousness is what we do as a person who has been clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ.

How do we live? Do we present ourselves as "righteous?" Not self-righteous but as people who understand that we are not bound to the sinful chains of the past when were non pase non pecare (not able not to sin) when all that we were was sin, and we were completely helpless against the pull and urges of the sinful nature. Do we live as people of freedom who are conscious of the great responsibility we bear of carrying the righteousness of Christ?

Pressing on toward faithfulness. God has given the Christian the ability to be faithful in all things. This again is due to our being in Christ. Without this union you and I are helpless to be faithful to God. The Bible vividly describes unfaithful people in the Old Testament and how God dealt with them. The Bible also describes those who were faithful; such as Moses, Abraham and others who are listed for us in the Hall of Faith in the book of Hebrews. They were considered righteous because of their faith!

Is your faith visible in your life? When trials befall you are you strengthened by your faith in God? Do you really believe that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God? (Romans 8:28) Times of trial is when our faith tends to wane the most. We struggle to understand that trials are faith builders not faith eliminators. Remaining true to your word for service to others at church and home is difficult but it certainly can and ought to be done. Being faithful reveals your belief that God is sovereign, and that He has your particular circumstances well in hand. It shows those around you that you trust God enough with all the details to keep going daily in spite of your hardships.

Think on these things for today, ask the Lord how you are doing in applying the truth of these few things: holiness, righteousness, and faithfulness. If you are not doing so hot in these things ask the Lord's help in growing more in each of these areas and be prepared for His answer! He desires that you grow more and more and He will be sure and present you with opportunities for practicing holiness, righteousness, and faithfulness.