This morning, Dave spoke from Phil 3:12-14, verses which remind us that we need to keep pressing on towards God’s goal for our lives. The most important pursuit in life is our pursuit of Christ, and just as athletes train with concentration, dedication, determination and focus, so we too must work for growth. Rom 8:28-29 reminds us that we were predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. God’s goal is not simply to save us, but to transform us. Moreover, He has jobs for us to do, good plans for our lives. Paul is well aware, however, that we have not arrived yet! Progress is ongoing and we must keep moving forward, measuring ourselves only by Christ (and not by other people.)
Paul urges us not to dwell in the past, telling us to forget what is behind. We don’t need to forget our heritage, but our tendency is either to fixate on the past, allowing the wounds we have suffered to cripple us or be rest on past accomplishments. Twice in these verses, he urges us to ‘press on’, to be motivated about our goal, to be straining towards God in single-minded pursuit, like the runner ‘dipping’ into the finishing line or the cyclist who leans forward to maximise speed. Growth and progress may well take time, but we are required to live with diligence. This will mean making time for God, planning for times of prayer, making worship and fellowship a priority. It will mean keeping our eyes on the prize and going beyond our comfort zones.
God wants us to look for new opportunities and be prepared to move on to new things. This may mean letting go of traditions which have become obstacles to growth and determining to honour and glorify Christ in all we do. If we will seek God’s kingdom first, then we will see God provide all we need.