Pressing Towards the Mark
Progress is a popular goal in the world today. People are hungry for technological progress, social progress, economic progress, educational progress and on and on. I recently read this statement in an article about digital storage, “No one knows for sure what will be, but with certainty I can say the best is yet to come.”
As Christians we also are interested in progress, but the progress which interests us is quite different from that of the world. Paul spoke of pressing towards the mark. But what mark? Did he have a goal of making a certain number of tents per year? Or was he working on a new and improved design? No, that was not his point at all. The mark he was pressing for was a spiritual mark:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14).
Why did Paul need to keep pressing toward the mark? He was a great pillar in the early church. Through his efforts the kingdom of God experienced great progress. Surely he was just about as perfect as one can get. But no, Paul realized that he still had not attained to perfection. He knew that there was higher ground to be reached.
The same is true for each of us. If we ever feel that we have arrived at the point where we no longer need to press forward, we have come to a dangerous place indeed! “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:12). What are some helps to avoid shifting into neutral? I am sure I cannot supply all the answers, but here are some things that come to my mind.
1 . Develop personal convictions. Do not consider yourself safe just because you are not doing anything that your Ecclesia specifically forbids. Church standards were never intended to take the place of your conscience. As soon as church standards become the only guide in your life you have begun to coast. You need to obey them, of course, but it should also go deeper than that. You should also understand the biblical principles behind them.
2 . Do not expect to coast along on the older generations’ momentum. They will pass off the scene before you know it. Todays’ young people are tomorrows older generation. Young people need to learn to be spiritually alert today if they are going to be safe leaders tomorrow.
3 . Do not be satisfied with generation gaps. Remember that in only a few generations, small steps add up to create big leaps. In only a few generations, the church could lose what our forefathers worked so hard for.
4 . Set your personal focus on growth rather than on maintenance. If Paul needed to press forward, how much more do you need it?
5 . And last, but not least, keep God’s word absolutely central in your life. Without this all effort will be vain. And through it all, let us remember why we are pressing onward. We want to win that prize that awaits us - eternal life (2 Corinthians 4:17). Truly, Christians can say, the best is yet to come or is coming.
The world wants your best but God wants your all.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Matthew 22:37 KJV
Bro Gaius Egwu (Ohafia, Nigeria)