progess{Philippians 3:12-14; NLT}
12 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.13 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,14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

The way of Jesus is the way of constant growth. You and I were not created to plateau, but to continually be in the process of transformation into the likeness of Jesus. This means that the goal of our lives is progress and not perfection.

We see this truth in what the apostle Paul wrote in this passage from Philippians. In the verses leading up to this passage, Paul talked about the transformation that happened in his life and how he sought to know the power of God that is found in the resurrection of Jesus. Now Paul wanted to make sure the Philippians did not misunderstand what he meant. The Apostle clearly says that he was still making progress in his effort to reach perfection.

The spiritual reality for Paul (which is true for everyone who follows Jesus) was that he had been made¬†perfect. That perfection, which is a gift from God, was not consistently lived out in his life. Even though Paul’s life was change, Paul was not satisfied, because he knew he still had changes to make. Paul longed to experience the “heavenly prize” of Christian perfection. To that goal Paul dedicated himself to two actions:

  1. Forgetting the past. The past is often an obstacle to our future. Sometimes it is an obstacle because the past is a source of regret. We look back and think about everything we should have done differently. This regret can prevent us from making the correct decision for now. Other times the past is an obstacle because it is a source of pain. This pain has come to define our lives, and we can’t move past it. There are times when pride prevents us from making progress. We look back on the successes of the past and remember the “good old days,” and we begin to believe that the best days are behind us rather¬†than in front of us. To make progress we have to leave the past in the past, both the good and the bad. We do this by living with hope as we remember the promises of God.
  2. Pressing into the future. The image behind this phrase is that of a runner leaning forward to break the finish line. To live this way means that have an expectation and purpose for the future. We are not just existing, but we are actually living. The only we will press into the future is by living intentional lives. Our lives are the product of the choices that we make. If we want our lives transformed to experience the new life that Jesus has given to us, then we need to make different choices. Pressing into the future means that we have chosen to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that we intentionally seek to love God and people, and that we have decided to go against the ways of the world.

The reality is our lives are corrupted by sin. The Good News is that in Jesus Christ we have new life! The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus ushered in new creation. This new creation is given to all the people who have surrendered their lives to Jesus.

The perfection we have received from Jesus is not always seen in our lives. The corruption of sin remains present in our minds and hearts, and often the choices we make are the product of this corruption. We need to seek to bring the spiritual reality of new creation and the choices of our lives into alignment. When we look back on our lives what we want to see is progress, that we are closer to perfection today than we were yesterday.

Let go of the past and press into the future and experience the life God created you to live.

(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)