Friday, December 6
Scripture: Philippians 1-4
Philippians 3:12–15 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Paul makes it clear that he hasn’t arrived, that he is still pressing on, pursuing Jesus and the goal of knowing Him and experiencing His death and resurrection power. It’s a lifelong pursuit! And all who are mature should have the same attitude: I haven’t arrived; I’m still pressing on, pursuing Jesus.
Yesterday, a friend of mine who is a pastor expressed his desire to be better at prayer. I told him that I’ve been following Jesus for 55 years, and I’ve always felt that way, and continue to feel that way! I wish I was a better pray-er! I wish I heard Jesus more clearly and more often. I wish I was closer to God. I also told him that I think that is exactly how we are supposed to feel—always. If you think you’ve arrived—beware! It only means you’ve lost your desire for more of God, and that’s not good! The “mature” attitude is to keep pressing on, keep pursuing, keep desiring to get better.
So I continue to read books on prayer and spiritual growth and intimacy, and to practice new habits so I can grow. And honestly, I have moments of startling clarity and intimacy with Jesus; and I have other days when I check the box on my spiritual practices but don’t feel particularly close to God or that I’ve heard something fresh from him. That’s ok. The mature person just keeps going—pursuing, pressing on—knowing that our relationship with Jesus, like any relationship, has moments of closeness, and times of quiet co-habitation!
So press on!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the moments when I feel your presence and hear your voice. Help me to faithfully press on even when I don’t!