Finishing Strong is the Goal, Don’t Ignore the Process

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I’m sitting here in the chapel of our denominations’s district office, spending an extended time in prayer, fasting, and studying the Word.  One of our students is with me and we’re on “lockdown” for 48 as we seek God on a number of issues.  As I picked up my Bible, I began reading through Philippians, probably for the 100th time in my life.  It’s one of my favorite books and every time I read it, I see something new as it applies to different areas of my life.

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.  Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus.  I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back” (Philippians 3:12-14).

In our quest to be servants and ministers of Christ, I believe that too often, we get entangled in things and issues that are of no lasting consequence.  We get tripped up by the temporal and miss the eternal.  In his last days, Paul gave encouraging words on a key phrase my pastor uses all the time:  Finishing Strong.

Am I Brutally Honest With Myself  “I’m not saying that I have this all together
Admit it.  We don’t know it all and we don’t have it all, and don’t have it all together.  Despite the accomplishments, accolades, and acknowledgments of man, we still have a long way to go.  Human markers and standards do not equal success from heaven’s perspective.  If we’re perfect, we no longer have need for Christ.  If I admit that I’m flawed, helpless, and weak, then the Lord has room to work.

Am I En Route?  “I am well on my way
Are we still desperate?  Still growing?  Still maturing and developing?  When we receive that calling, credentials, or diploma…is that all there is?  We must continue to dig deeper, climb higher.  What does God have for me today, tomorrow?  What do I need to learn, or relearn?  What does God want to do in me presently?

Am I Being Held Back?  I’m not turning back
We all have issues…a past…things we’re ashamed of…weights that hinder and slow us down.  Unfortunately, we forget the victory of Christ.  What???  Really???  Yes.  The promises of God, the shed blood of Jesus…brings the chains and bonds, erases our mistakes and failures, heals, restores, renews, and regenerates.  So as far as He is concerned, the past is passed.  But we hold on, cling to it.  Paul’s advice is “FORGETTING what is behind.”  God does.  So should we.

Am I Headed In The Right Direction?  “I’ve got my eye on the goal…Jesus”
So where are we headed?  What are we chasing after?  What are we living for?  Not WHAT are we doing but WHY are we doing it?  What’s the endgame?  What’s the motive and purpose?  What’s our pursuit?  Not the applause of people.  Not larger ministries.  Not numbers and stat sheets.  Not building projects.  Not even a crown.

Just Jesus.

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