I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own yet; but one thing: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. Philippians 3:12-14 (AMP)
Paul – The Journey Series – Part 2
Paul wrote to his friends in Philippi and said, “I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own yet…”
Hang on. Read that again!
Paul is saying: “Look, mate. I haven’t arrived yet. I’m still on my way.”
Paul. One of the most celebrated religious figures in the history of humanity said that he hadn’t made it yet.
He still had ways to go.
And he admitted it.
I’m not sure about you, but I feel like there is so much pressure for us to know the answers, lock in the career, amass more wealth, have it all together, ARRIVE at the top with money and fame and fortune and looks tucked neatly into our pockets. To know the truth and have all the answers. All by 9 am yesterday morning.
But its a crock!
What does “arriving” look like?
Do you know anyone who has arrived?
And what do you do once you get there?
I had been trying to “arrive” for a long time. I spent a good twelve or so years from my late teens to my late twenties trying to arrive at some kind of success. When I hit thirty, and still hadn’t made the pinnacle of ministry, monetary and material success, I was legitimately disappointed and felt like a failure. And while that may sound prideful, and at its essence was (although in the opposite sense: I was trying to justify my existence by my good behaviour), I had swallowed the lie that told me that to be a good Christian, set a good example, and be someone worthy of following, I needed to be “successful.”
Before his conversion, Paul – who was then called Saul – WAS hitting the heights of religious leadership success. He was revered, sought after, the jewel of his sect, the light of the future. But everything changed on the road to Damascus when he heard a voice from heaven and then fell down blind. He spent the next THIRTEEN YEARS (yep, years. Not days.) unlearning, growing, and learning new things. Living into the person God created him to be.
He was on a journey, and it seemed that that journey never ended.
For Christ, salvation is holistic. It's for all of you. It’s not just about getting you into heaven, or getting you to preach on street corners, or getting you into a church… it's for the entirety of everything.
In Colossians, Paul talks about how God is reconciling ALL things to himself through Jesus. All things. This includes every little part of you: body, soul, heart, spirit. AND it includes everything outside of you, too: others, oceans, forests, rivers, animals, air and sky and space… God wants to redeem our WAY of life, too.
It’s not a switch that you flick on; it's a seed that you plant. Once that seed is planted, it's watered and cared for, patiently waited on, protected from weeds and grubs and harsh conditions, all the while growing, growing, growing into the wind, until the moment when the once-seed-now-plant is harvested so that it can once again be?
Want to know a secret that shouldn’t be one?
You'll never arrive.
You’ll never make it.
You’ll never have it all.
You’ll never be satisfied.
You’ll never reach the top.
It's a truth that brings great freedom and relief.
You can keep on going. You can live into your salvation. You can learn the rhythms of grace. You can be restored day-by-day-by-day… You can press on.
Because the saving is in the journey.
Written by Liz Milani
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