"He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 14:35b

Monday, November 3, 2014

Press On To Become More Like Christ

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

Have you ever wanted something so much that you were willing to do just about anything to achieve that goal? You learned your craft or attended school or saved up for that once-in-a-lifetime trip or maybe even relocated to a new town or state to make it happen.

You’re passionate. You’ve pressed on—no matter what. Reaching the pinnacle is all that matters.

Are we as passionate about being Biblical Christians? You might scratch your head and ask: Are there any other kind?

The Apostle Paul acknowledged in the verses above that reaching perfection in Christianity is near to impossible while on the earth, yet we must continue to press on toward that goal. In the verses preceding, he admonished Christians not to get hung up on their past accomplishments or get rooted in the present day Christianity morph that so many in our culture are getting trapped by.

In other words, safeguard our faith (Philippians 3:1). Many things threaten our faith, sometimes even within the body of Christ.

I’ve noticed a trend among some Christians—winking at sin because, after all, we’re all sinners. Who are we to judge? Shouldn't we just be loving people?

While we’re not called to pass judgment on those around us, we are to make judgments about right and wrong based on Biblical truths. Forget what social media or the latest cultural trend tells you. Simply vet the lifestyle or choice by the Bible. I often hear people say, “Well, not everything is spelled out in the Bible,”or “that was then, this is now.” While some of the Bible is meant to give us an historic perspective on creation, Mosaic Law, and mankind, the principles of everything in the Bible are applicable to our lives. Think of it like this: “We are citizens of heaven.” (Philippians 3:20)
In other words: If the choice wouldn’t be permissible in heaven, it’s not permissible in our lives.

Makes our decision-making pretty simple, huh?

And while it’s hip to quote “judge not, lest ye be judged,” remember, the most loving thing any of us can do is keep our fellow man out of hell. Yet our complicit approval often does the opposite. Instead of trying to ride the edge of the envelope on what’s permissible while living in a secular progressive society, maybe we’d do well to focus on what Paul discovered—“everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)

Jesus often hung out with the social outcasts and sinners, but his message was clear on these encounters—“go and sin no more.” Let us press on toward that goal in our lives as we seek to become more like Christ and bring his promise of salvation and hope to a lost and dying world.

The cost of going against evolving cultural norms, even within some of our churches, may be great in terms of earthly measures, but it's one Christians must be willing to pay because the eternal cost to the unsaved is even greater (James 5:19-20).
©Laura Hodges Poole

Athlete Jumping photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/Freedigitalphotos.net
Future photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut/Freedigitalphotos.net