I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:12-14 NLT
Have you ever wanted something so much that you were willing to do just about anything to achieve that goal? You learned your craft or attended school or saved up for that once-in-a-lifetime trip or maybe even relocated to a new town or state to make it happen.
You’re passionate. You’ve pressed on—no matter what. Reaching the pinnacle is all that matters.
Are we as passionate about being Biblical Christians? You might scratch your head and ask: Are there any other kind?
The Apostle Paul acknowledged in the verses above that reaching perfection in Christianity is near to impossible while on the earth, yet we must continue to press on toward that goal. In the verses preceding, he admonished Christians not to get hung up on their past accomplishments or get rooted in the present day Christianity morph that so many in our culture are getting trapped by.
In other words, safeguard our faith (Philippians 3:1).
I’ve noticed a trend among some Christians—winking at sin because, after all, we’re all sinners. Who are we to judge?
While we’re not called to pass judgment on those around us, we are to make judgments about right and wrong based on Biblical truths. Forget what social media or the latest cultural trend tells you. Simply vet the lifestyle or choice by the Bible. I often hear people say, “Well, not everything is spelled out in the Bible,” or “that was then, this is now.” While some of the Bible is meant to give us an historic perspective on creation, Mosaic Law, and mankind, the principles of everything in the Bible are applicable to our lives. Think of it like this: “We are citizens of heaven.” (Philippians 3:20).
In other words: If the choice wouldn’t be permissible in heaven, it’s not permissible in our lives.
Makes our decision-making pretty simple, huh?
And while it’s hip to quote “judge not, lest ye be judged,” remember, the most loving thing any of us can do is keep our fellow man out of hell. Yet our complicit approval often does the opposite. Instead of trying to ride the edge of the envelope on what’s permissible while living in a secular progressive society, maybe we’d do well to focus on what Paul discovered—“everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Jesus often hung out with the social outcasts and sinners, but his message was clear on these encounters—“go and sin no more.” Let us press on toward that goal in our lives as we seek to become more like Christ and bring his promise of salvation and hope to a lost and dying world.
If you would like prayer for a particular need, please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. I’d love to pray for you. J
I’m excited to announce the launch of my quarterly newsletter next month entitled “So You Want To Be Encouraged!” In the inaugural edition, I’ll share my exciting publishing news, as well as give away a copy of one of master wreath maker Nancy Alexander’s books on wreath making, just in time for the holidays. To be eligible for the drawing to win her book, you simply have to be a newsletter subscriber. The subscription box is at the top right-hand side of this blog.
Join me next week for a two-part series on battling depression and mental illness, written by two women on the front lines. Whether you have a lot of knowledge or no experience with mental illness, you’ll learn something from their stories.
©Laura Hodges Poole
Athlete Jumping photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/Freedigitalphotos.net
Future photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut/Freedigitalphotos.net