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Pressing On Towards the Goal

"for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,

but the wicked stumble in times of calamity."-Proverbs 24:16 No matter what disappointments we face, no matter what set backs, or how many things seem to go wrong, we, as believers, have a goal we strain toward. It's not to get to heaven (though that's a perk), or to live in eternal bliss (another very good side effect), or to be glorified; it's to be with Jesus forever. Jesus is the reason for any thing in our life, whether good or bad, and His Father uses it all for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Unfortunately, we can miss out on what is in front of us if we're focused on the wrong goal. Consider, if you will, Jesus' life. Israel knew He was special, many knew He was from the Father, but they could not accept His teachings because they were so focused on trying to be good enough by their righteous deeds, distracted by occupying Rome, and focused on the affairs of THIS life that they missed the Holy One walking among them! Through Christ Jesus, the Father was fulfilling His promises to Israel, and they missed out on it!

Before we blame Israel, how often do we miss out on the blessing of each day as the Father gives it to us? We fix our eyes on property, relationships, finances, and the cares of this life, and miss out on the presence of the Father through the Holy Spirit in Christ. We fix our eyes on our present wants or needs, and Jesus goes out of sight. This is why we must make every effort to fix our eyes on Christ. He is the goal! And so, no matter what this life throws at us, we press on! We make everything about Christ instead of focusing on everything else BUT Christ! He will provide everything we need, and it is a Promise He makes, and He keeps every one of His promises! Do not focus on the things of this life. Press on toward Christ, and be satisfied in His presence, now and in the time to come. Philippians 3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

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