The on-going work of Knowing Christ!
Years after the Apostle Paul’s conversion, his conversion was the on-going thrust of his life. From his dramatic and initial conversion with Jesus (Acts 9) to years in a Roman prison, he sought out Christ. He lived what he taught. To the Philippians he wrote:
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Philippians 3:10-12 NIV
“Taking hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” has become my heart’s cry for years. This challenges me to live ‘parallel to His purpose for dying for us!’ The challenge to live relevant to our calling requires a vibrant relationship with Him. How? Check out the next verse:
Brothers, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.Philippians 3:13-14a NIV
SPIRITUAL MATURITY MANDATES 2 PRINCIPLES
#1 NEGLECT THINKING ABOUT OR LIVING IN THE PAST:
That can refer to both failures or successes in our past. Don’t live repeating your history to the exclusion of your future. Our road map with Christ did not end at the beginning of our spiritual walk. He called us forward not backward. Stay engaged.
The word ‘forgetting’ means ‘neglect’. Mentally running through your history of mistakes does not advance our walk with Christ. We have been given the ‘spirit of a self-discipline’ (II Timothy 1:7b). Discipling our thought life forward rather than backward is key. Not only the failures or regrets but the wins. When our mind is occupied with past triumphs we slip into the yesterdays that glorify us. If we remember the past victories because of what Christ did through us, we should be humbled enough to seek more of His will in our present. Only that line of thought can take us forward.
Warning: God does not repeat our past victories unless they are part of His purpose today.
#2 STRECH TOWARD WHAT IS AHEAD:
Life is a daily stretch. Without stretching we neither grow forward not maintain spiritual growth. Paul thrived in a continual growing relationship with Jesus through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. His level of revelation fills much of our New Testament. He engaged himself continually in knowing God. His calling remained front and center from his conversion moment to his martyred life. It is in the stretch that we remain fresh and valuable to the Kingdom and to Him. Our conversion continues as we think in the present & stretch toward the future.
REMAINING RELEVANT IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS IS NOT A PART TIME VENTURE.