Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold
of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward
to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward
call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians
What did Paul want us to understand from this passage? What does
it mean to forget what is behind? How do we press on toward the goal? How can
this become practical for us in our daily lives?
The goal is always to glorify God by how
we live our lives. We do this in part by practicing holiness; pressing on
toward holiness. Holiness is God's standard for us, it is what He has made us
in Christ. 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
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
Be holy as I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15
To live holy means we may have to eliminate things that are not
going to reflect the truth about who we are. It could mean we have to eliminate
things from our lives that lead us away from holiness. It could mean starting things like Bible reading and prayer,
if these have not been a consistent part of our lives. These things will lead
us to respond as one who is practicing holiness.
We live our entire Christian lives pressing
on toward righteousness. We have been made righteous through Christ who is our
righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). This is
another positional truth; and it means that when God looks on us He sees the
perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. The other aspect of righteousness is
what we do as people who are clothed in the
perfect righteousness of Christ.
We live 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). We recognize we have the
ability in Christ to resist the pull and the urges of the sinful nature. We live
as people who have been freed from the bondage to sin, and we are conscious of
the great responsibility we bear in possessing the righteousness of Christ.
We also press on toward faithfulness. In Christ,
God has given us the ability to be faithful in all things. It is during times
of trial that our faith tends to wane the most. The truth is, knowing Jesus
includes knowing suffering.
We say we want to know Christ, and be more
like Him. Yet, when things comes into life that will help us to gain knowledge
of Him on more than a superficial level we immediately begin asking God to take
We are content with head knowledge about
suffering and are quite willing to press on through the other side of the
situation as long as it does not include much suffering, but we really don't
want application of the "pressing on" part. We struggle to understand
that trials are faith builders not faith eliminators. Being faithful
reveals belief that God is sovereign, and that He has our particular
circumstances well in hand. It shows those around us that we trust God enough
with all the details to keep going daily in spite of hardships we face.
I want to leave you with a few things to
think about as I close today; would those around you say they can see your faith
in Christ? 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)?
If you can see room for growth you are not
alone! Spend time with Him today and ask the Lord for His help. He desires that
you grow more and more, and He will be sure and present you with opportunities
for practicing holiness, righteousness, and faithfulness.