This Sunday, I am preaching on Philippians 3:12-4:1. This section contains some of my favorite verses:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ
Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider
myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (3:12-14)
Over the course of the last few months, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “I’ll be glad when we get back to the way it was!”
I get it. I’ve written a few times in my newsletter space about how exhausting everything is because of the coronavirus. I think, though, that we are setting ourselves up for massive disappointment if we think that everything will return to “normal.”
I don’t think we will ever get back to the way things used to be, but I’m also not convinced that is a bad thing. The most important thing we can do during this virus – and really, at any point in our lives, is to find Jesus amid our difficult times.
Notice how Paul describes his process: I’m not there yet…I press on…I’m a work in progress…I forget what’s past…I strain.
Paul is a describing a holy tension that fills all believers. We’re not yet where we are going. We are not yet like Christ in every way. Yet, we continue onward. We continue focused on him.
It would be so easy, during all the chaos of our current situation, to throw up our hands and give up. Or to blame God for all that’s wrong in the world. Instead, we need to seek Jesus. We must let the difficulty of the present tem-per us for the future. This is what will bring us closer to Jesus, which ought to always be our goal.
I am reminded of these words from Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging…
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth”