Sunday, April 8, 2018
Leaning In Until the End
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this 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 heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.
Paul would have been an old man now and have walked with Jesus through the seasons of his life. He could have relaxed and said, “I’ve made it!,” but he didn’t. Instead, he was declaring that he was still on the journey and had not yet reached the goal, or come to completion. He always knew that there would be more and that he wouldn’t be complete until he was united with Christ. Therefore, he always kept Christ before him, and continually pressed on to become more and more like him.
He referred to the believers in Philippi as “beloved.” Fellow sojourners become beloved partners in the journey to know Christ. Even in his own pain and suffering he continued to be concerned with the welfare of others. He reminded them that he was not concerned with what had happened in the past, he would just lean into the direction of Christ.
Finally he expresses concern that those who are mature must pray to be of the same mind. There needs to be unity in the church, and if there is an disunity it needs to be brought before the Lord and allow Christ to reveal his will. Never give up on the journey, but hang on, and lean in until the very end.
Wherever we may find ourselves on this spiritual journey, we are encouraged to never give up. Sometimes it will feel like an uphill climb, or as if the wind is blowing hard against us, but we are encouraged to keep pressing on, leaning into the troubles and continually pressing on toward Jesus Christ.
We have all had disappointments in life, and at times we’ve probably been quite discouraged. If we allow ourselves to live there, or to allow those times to consume who we are, we will lose sight of the goal. Jesus is the goal and he is continually drawing us toward him. Turning our backs and looking at what we’ve had to leave behind will make us lose focus. It’s what the enemy would want us to do. Paul knew what he was talking about, he had experienced much in life.
No matter the pressures, even when they seem overwhelming, we hold onto Jesus. He is our rock and will not allow us to fall. Hold firm to the fact that Jesus loves us and wants the best for us. You may feel as if you’re drowning right now, but Jesus has you. Lean into him and allow him to pull you through.
Remember, in the midst of the struggle, you are not alone. The mature members of the community are right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, helping you make it through. Together we can make it and the power of the Holy Spirit can help us lean into Jesus. And then we just keep on leaning, and pushing, and driving and eventually we will experience the same joy that Paul has — when we see Jesus face to face. Don’t give up!
Lord, may the Holy Spirit be the gentle thumb in my back that keeps me leaning into you! Amen.