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March 5, 2013

Text:  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But 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 upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)

“Progress Every Day”.  So read signs in the workplace of my former employer.  That was probably a good reminder, but difficult to  maintain every day. Nevertheless, it is an action that Paul exemplified well. What was the thing that Paul was arduously pursuing? Look back up in verse 10 and you will find that it was “the resurrection of the dead“. In other words, heaven. That is our goal too.

But sometimes our energies to that end nose dive. We stumble. We despair. We are misdirected. We may deem that goal is still important, but we devalue it in our lives. Church attendance lags. Bible study is forsaken. Ennui,  boredom, and malaise appear. In fact, our lives may be in a tailspin. Satan may be telling us that we have already obtained that reward, so we can just coast now.

How do we stumble into this quicksand?  Three major dangers may be observed. The first is complacency coupled with laziness. These two work as one.  As teenagers my friends and I disowned the idea of becoming self-satisfied. Idealistic as we were, we were certain that we would never get comfortable with mediocrity. Complacency however is stealthy and begets laziness. Other things in life overtake the importance of vying for personal improvement. In time we ease our way into sloth and we weaken.

The second thing is lost vision. As we grow older our eyes lose their acuity.  I sit in the breakfast room and look through a wide doorway  to watch basketball games on TV in the living room. However, I cannot see the scoreboard and determine the  score and time left in the game. What do I do? I get out my binoculars and focus them to enlarge the time clock. (I’m not lying!) When we lose our moral acuity we need to get some vision adjustment. So,  clear your vision. Get fresh perspective.

The third thing is lack of appetite. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalms 42:2a  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”. Matthew 5:5  Do not become spiritually emaciated. Feed upon God’s word daily.

Paul gives us three exhortations to help us stay on track. First, “…forget what lies behind.” Being attached to worldliness is a killer. Ask Lot’s wife. You must detach yourself from the world and its pleasures. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ  Jesus”. Romans 6:11

Second, “…strain forward to what lies ahead…” Forward, not backward. Your blessings lie ahead. The curse of eternal death lies behind.  Be attentive to the future promises of God.

Third, “…press on toward the goal…” Jesus has promised us an eternal home. The path to heaven is difficult. We must have strength and perseverance. Assaults will befall us, but we must not be subdued. Fight as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Keep heaven in sight.

  1. Very good thought on what we must do to reach our goal of Heaven!!!

  2. Nancy Giles permalink

    Randy, keep pressing onward. Each lesson just gets better and better. Thank you.

  3. I simply want to say I’m all new to weblog and absolutely savored you’re web site. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your site . You absolutely have really good writings. Cheers for sharing with us your web site.

    • Dear Eliana,

      Thank you for your encouraging comment regarding my blog. Please do bookmark my web site and sign on often. And also please tell your friends about the articles and give them the website address so that they can enjoy Bible teaching also.

      Your friend,

      Randy Mashburn
      The Mansion in Heaven

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