HEARTLIGHTSingle... Not Alone







Press On
by Cary Branscum
“...Not that I have already attained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on...”

    Paul talks about his life in Philippians 3:12 — 4:1. If the apostle Paul was still workin’ on his life, what about us? How often we get impatient that we haven’t “arrived” in life. In our minds and hearts we have certain external symbols that mean we’ve “made it.” It may be a certain car, a certain job, a certain spouse. It may be a certain bank account or a certain vacation.

    But you know what, I am certain about one thing — WE NEVER “ARRIVE.” I’ve talked to countless people who are well off by the world’s standards, yet it doesn’t seem to be enough. Life is a JOURNEY, not a destination on this side eternity. Paul realized this and was more focused on the right process in his life, he was more intense about how he journeyed.

    So what!??!

    So what can we do to get our lives in shape to make this Journey?

    Paul gives us three things to do as single people (and remember that Paul was not only single, he was Spirit-inspired!):

1. Forget what is behind
You might say, “don’t worry pal, I’ve done that. I’ve had some losses and problems, but I just stuffed ‘em down and went on with my life.” Folks, Paul is not telling us to “stuff down” our problems. Problems that are stuffed down tend to resurface. And when they do resurface it’s not a gentle thing. Paul is not telling us to be in denial of our life experiences. But so many of us won’t let go of the past. We keep the wound open by constantly going back and picking on the scab. When we’ve done what we can to deal with the past, then we need to move on. Let’s close the door to those past issues, good or bad, and let’s leave them behind and get back to living in today’s world.

2. Reach for what is ahead
Maintain forward motion. That’s important. STEADY PROGRESS ON THE RIGHT ROAD is what we’re after.

Every morning I hoist my full frame out the door and jog about two miles. I don’t run. I don’t even jog fast. On bad days it’s hardly more than a shuffle. But I do it every morning. It helps me through the day. Always forward, on the right road, keepin’ on shufflin.’ Some days it’s hard, a real struggle, but I keep on shufflin.’ But how do we know the right road? God’s Word, prayer, and the wise counsel of God’s people are all good places to start. That’s why he gave us the church and single Christian friends. None of us gets to the destination alone. There are days where we can’t shuffle without a friend to give us a friendly nudge in the back side. And for singles, this is especially important. Singles need a shufflin’ partner. Did you ever notice that Paul nearly always had some other folks with him on his journeys? He made sure he had shufflin’ partners!

3. Press on toward the goal
We must have a destination. Let’s not beat ourselves up for not arriving. You see, a lot of folks live in the past. They stagnate and feel guilty because they haven’t gotten anywhere in life. Others try to live in the glory days of the past. That’s just as bad. But then they don’t have a clear picture of where they want to go, so they go nowhere. You probably know the saying: “If you head out for nowhere in particular you are bound to get there.” Well, it’s true!

So we need to have a godly goal to go after. One that is bigger than our dilemmas, our problems, and ourselves. We need a godly goal! We need something that draws us onward and upward, something to set our sights on. Better yet, we need our sights set on Someone greater. Pray for his wisdom, his insight, his help, his guidance, his power, and his strength to help you identify that “something” and then go for it.

    More than likely you probably already know these three steps. They may even sound simplistic. But when you get down to the bottom of most complex problems, there are usually some very simple solutions that help you put together a plan to solve to solve them. One at a time, eye on the goal, going through the simple steps, and one day the problem is solved or the goal is achieved.

    Have you ever wondered how Paul was able to bear up under stress, persecution, and pressure? He learned to put the past into the past by forgetting what was behind him. Second, he was always looking forward toward what was ahead and kept on shufflin’ toward it. Third, he had a goal, a mission, and he pressed on to that goal. For Paul, that goal was “heavenward.” You know what, I think if we keep at it, we may just find ourselves in the same place with Paul.


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
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Article copyright © 1999, Cary Branscum. Used by permission.
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