“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)
I think one of the greatest evil’s mankind had to face in the 20th century was Adolph Hitler and The Third Reich. Talk about no regard for humankind that was muddied up with strange occultic beliefs. There is no doubt that The Devil showed his hand to the world during that time period BUT there was this guy who saw it coming and like a good watchmen sounded his trumpet…but no one listen until it was too late.
Winston Churchill wasn’t a fan favorite in England after WWI but as WWII came along this bulldog lead a resounding charge that called a whole free world to battle. To quote that charge: “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
We shall never surrender! Man do I like that kinda stuff. Churchill had himself some confidence didn’t he? Well he kinda hinted that the USA was coming to back him up right after the never surrender part but none the less what he was saying to the Nazi Party was “THE MORE YOU HOLD US DOWN, THE MORE WE PRESS ON!!” Love this stuff.
The Apostle Paul also has himself a resounding charge when it comes to the Christian life. After his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul “quits” all that legalist mumbo jumbo and begins to pursue a life of Christlikeness. Basically he goes from quitting to pressing on. And here are 5 things (borrowed from Chuck Swindoll’s book “Laugh Again”) we can glean from that charge we find in Philippians 3:12-16.
1. The Plan is Progress…not Perfection. Some of us get so intense with our pursuit of godliness that we get frustrated and down on ourselves when we fail.
2. The Past is OVER…FORGET IT!! To glory in past achievements only makes us proud and to torture ourselves with former mistakes can only arouse guilt and shame.
3. The Future Holds Out Hope…Reach for It! The Christian life isn’t meant to a peaceful alliance or a passive coexistence. It’s should be a passionate quest, ever stretching and reaching for the prize that calls us through Christ Jesus!!
4. The Secret is a Determined Attitude…Maintain It!! Simply put, “I am complete in the sense that I have grown as far as I can at the present, and I am ready for the next lesson.” (Stuart Briscoe, Bound for Joy)
5. The Need is Keeping a High Standard…Together! “Living the Christian life is a mutual effort, not a solo mission. There is great comfort and strength to be gained if we will lock arms with those who are striving to keep the same high standard.” (Swindoll)
Now this is all inspiring stuff isn’t it? But truth be told this Freedom Fighter writer has got his days when the battle seems, no wait, gets to be redundant. Same dung heap to plow through, same ugliness in my heart to deal with, living in a world that just ain’t making any sense anymore, price tag on everything and everyone and I am supposed to maintain my Christlikeness when all I really wanna do is pull out my broadsword and cut off the head of evil so the body falls into the pit and burn forever…but that’s God’s job and not mine. I gotta learn to deal with that part. BUT….
Broadsword, huh? How about pulling out the sword that God gave me and doing battle with that? Yeah better idea. I often think of Gideon when the battle gets futile and when I do I find myself going back reading his story. Yeah I do put out the fleece from time to time but just like Gideon, God gives me His reply…” Press on Chris, Press on.” Yeah it ain’t easy but if it was easy the grace that was afforded me on The Cross becomes cheap and everything that Jesus taught just sounds like a really good idea instead of the way things should be in their divine order. So I guess I’ll be sticking to the NEVER SURRENDER part of this Christian walk…just gotta get rid of the rear view mirror. How about you? You with me? Hope so…
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ
The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 56; Proverbs 26
Daily Quote: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” —Winston Churchill
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.