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 3:13-14 (NASB)
The Olympics are coming! I know, August is a long way off but I was very excited to see the first commercial for the Summer Olympic games on television the other night. Olympians command so much of my respect for their diligence and dedication to becoming the best in the world at what they do. Christians should do no less at what God has given us to do. In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul encourages us to have a goal in life, and to do whatever it takes to reach it.
I have observed that Christians begin their new lives full of gusto and determination to tell everyone they know about Jesus Christ. Over time, that vigor evaporates as what they consider to be “real life” once again takes over. Work, parenting, paying the mortgage and other life issues slowly push the gospel to the background of life.
Sometimes we allow other people to overly influence us and tell us what we should be doing with our lives. They want us to conform to their idea of what our Christian life should look like. We allow them to determine our purpose for living. If we are to gain the prize Paul speaks of, we have to understand what God’s purposes are for our lives, and we have to have a Godward direction in mind as we set our life goals and plan our activities. Be disciplined in your daily life and zero in on that one goal: I want to serve and glorify God with my life.
Halfway through your life, you don’t want to look back and realize that you’ve been blundering along and wasting the time He’s given you. Your purpose must fall under the broad aim of serving God and glorifying Him with your life.While it is good to dream about what you want to do in service to God, it’s essential that you make specific long-term goals that will enable you to accomplish your objectives. Once you have determined those goals, do all you can to achieve them!
Persevere in the face of the obstacles that will arise. When discouragement sets in and you think you will never arrive at your goal, or the goal seems to be moving farther away and nothing is working out the way you planned, just keep going. Remember that the Lord is ultimately in control and He is using you for His purposes along the journey. Continue to rely on Him, and keep pressing on.
So friends, where are you today in the journey? Are you weighed down with cares and concerns that are distracting you from your goals? Have you developed sinful habits, thought patterns, or activities that are holding you back or slowing you down? If you are really befuddled, take paper and pen in hand and prayerfully write out what is keeping your pursuit of God from being the most important activity in your life. Are you being fed messages from the world designed to drown out God’s call on your life? Is there something you must lay aside to better serve God? Taking your own inventory can give you a very clear picture of what it is that has hobbled you on your Christian journey. You have been called to run a race, not meander your way around.
Get rid of time and energy wasters! Keep running the race the Lord has set before you.You will find joy and fulfillment in being Christ-focused; much more than in pursuing things of the world.