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Maturing in Christ

Paul, a man whose life story can be defined as “all in for Christ”, was very serious about what his life was about. He was a man of accomplishment. He was revered in some circles and mostly faultless in much of his life. However, with all his accomplishments and accolades and badges, he couldn’t stand the thought that any of those would be worth more to him than a life found in Christ. He speaks of this in his letter to the church in Philippi. The words that he uses like strain and pressing on, gives us an affirmation that his journey is not a easy one, but one that he works for. It’s a journey full of self sacrifice.

Spiritually speaking, Paul is far along in years. Not one of us would say that he is drinking milk as a baby would, nor would we say he is a teenager in his outlook. We would all say that he is mature. We would say that Paul has some things figured out. What is it about his life that makes him so special?

Paul had it figured out. His relationship with Christ was not just lip service, but it was something that was tangible. It was something people saw in him. In fact, I’d say, if you passed Paul on the street, you’d see more of Christ than you would of Paul. It was something he pressed forward with. While fighting against anything that would hold him down or keep him away from realizing Christ’s power in his life, he pressed on. He did not stop. It didn’t matter what people said about him, his life was found in Christ. It was Christ alone that mattered to him.

What would it take for us to take such views? What would it take for us to engage in this type of lifestyle? Sure, the more we stand up for Christ the more the world rejects us, but along the way we are planting seeds that have more power than anything we can come up.

Take a look at this passage from Philippians 3, but pay special attention to verses 15…

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 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. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

I ask, what is the mature way of living? The mature way of living is forgetting what is behind, putting your focus on Christ and moving toward him. No more living as a baby or as immature, its time to step up and take hold of which Christ has called you to.

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