Dave spoke from Phil 3:7-16 tonight, focussing on the need to press on in God, not being satisfied with all we have experienced so far, but understanding that there is so much more to be explored and experienced in God. God gives us the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit to enable us to grow and to be His witnesses, but so often, we fail to shine even brighter in our journey with God (see Prov 4:18), stalling in our progress through a variety of reasons. The word ‘mediocre’ comes from two words meaning halfway to the peak, and so often we settle for mediocrity in life, having moved on from the valley but not progressing up to the mountain top.
The reasons for this are various. Sometimes we are not willing to count the cost for God, drawing back when we hear His voice and challenge. Jesus made it plain (Luke 9:23) that there is a daily cost of self-denial and surrender required of discipleship, but often we draw back from this. Salvation is a beginning, a gateway into the fulness of God; even though we know Christ, we need to press on into knowing Him more. Our independent streak which leads to disobedience must be tamed if we are to press on.
Sometimes we are sidetracked by chronic discouragement, always applying God’s word to someone else, believing they may prosper and flourish, but being resigned to never progressing personally. We need to understand that this fulness of life (John 10:10) is on offer to every single one of us and must rise about discouragement to press on to receiving this fulness.
Sometimes we draw back because we are afraid of looking strange or being seen as too ‘extreme’. We have to be totally ‘sold out’ for God, however, recognising that radical surrender will always look strange to others, but what matters is a heart panting after God. (Ps 42 & 43). Just as a canny barman places salted peanuts on the bar to encourage people to eat and become thirsty (thereby buying more drinks), without a thirst for God, we will not press on. This thirst cannot be created by others, however, but must be present for us to move on in God.
Phil 3:15-16 reminds us that all of us who are mature need to be pressing on even further. There is no room for a lack of progress; however long we have walked with God, there is still more to explore, more to understand, more to experience. Let’s not settle for mediocre Christianity, for being ‘average’, but let’s seek to press onwards and upwards in Him, reaching for that heavenly prize.