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Straining Toward the Goal

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. Philippians 3:12-16 This morning, I was reading through a book (pray for me, I'm trying to do this more often, and start many books but finish few!), and (ironically enough) the author was talking about how he can't seem to finish a mile once he begins to run. The pain he feels in his sides and stomach, the inconvenience of it all, the fact that one lap around the track does not mean a mile, many things cause him to struggle, and then desire to quit overcomes him. It's amazing how this relates to so many of us on differing levels. Consider all of the following statements that I've collected in my memory over the years "I don't have time for that," "It's just not convenient for me to do it," "I would, if only my schedule were less tight," "You don't know how hard I work, I have to have me time," "I would, but I have a family to consider," and many more besides. You may have already guessed, but do you wonder where I've heard each and every one of these statements? Bible study, church involvement, and doing what the Bible says. And much of this from fellow preachers! Why do we use such statements? Quite simply (and yet not so much), we're too weighed down with the cares of this life. Jesus said (in Luke 21:34-35) But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Simply put: don't let the temporary determine your eternity. We look at politics, parties (or other social occasions), family, jobs, entertainment, relaxation, and many other temporary conditions and let them effect our eternal mindset. One of the most selfish things we can say is "I'll commit when I'm old enough, mature enough, <fill in the blank> enough." What about your kids, coworkers, neighbors, social circles NOW? Shouldn't they know Christ in eternity as well? The temporary causes us to be self-centered. Straining toward the goal, as Paul puts it, makes us focused on eternity, and thus the eternity of those around us.

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