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 havent arrived in life. In our minds and hearts we have certain external symbols that mean weve 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. Ive talked to countless people who are well off by the worlds standards, yet it doesnt 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 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, dont worry pal, Ive done that. Ive 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 its not a gentle thing. Paul is not telling us to be in denial of our life experiences. But so many of us wont let go of the past. We keep the wound open by constantly going back and picking on the scab. When weve done what we can to deal with the past, then we need to move on. Lets close the door to those past issues, good or bad, and lets leave them behind and get back to living in todays world.
- 2. Reach for what is ahead
Maintain forward motion. Thats important. STEADY PROGRESS ON THE RIGHT ROAD is what were after.
Every morning I hoist my full frame out the door and jog about two miles. I dont run. I dont even jog fast. On bad days its 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 its hard, a real struggle, but I keep on shufflin.
But how do we know the right road? Gods Word, prayer, and the wise counsel of Gods people are all good places to start. Thats why he gave us the church and single Christian friends. None of us gets to the destination alone. There are days where we cant 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. Lets not beat ourselves up for not arriving. You see, a lot of folks live in the past. They stagnate and feel guilty because they havent gotten anywhere in life. Others try to live in the glory days of the past. Thats just as bad. But then they dont 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, its 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.