Not Quite Yet…

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)

As we endeavor to live our lives as examples of how a “Christian” should look, not only do we fall under the scrutiny of a world looking closely for our flaws, we also often tend to examine ourselves with the same magnifyng glass of unreasonable expectations.  How often when our faith in Christ is known, and we fail in some way to stand up to such intense scrutiny might we hear, “See!  You’re no better than I am, and you’re supposed to be such a perfect Christian!”?  Worse, when we ourselves fail to fulfill the full measure of Christ we may say to ourselves, “I’m such a failure.  I always disappoint God and let Jesus down.”  This might even become such an intense emotion that we may even begin to feel that it’s no good even trying anymore… “I might as well act like the rest of my friends.  I always end up dropping the ball anyway.”  Not only do those apart from Christ have a skewed impression of what a follower of Jesus is, too often we do too!

There is a memorable moment in the movie “Batman Begins” when Bruce Wayne (Batman) is convinced that he has failed and has ultimately let Gotham City down.  His faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth gently reminds him of something Wayne’s father had said when he was still a child, “Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.”  I hear that in the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:12-14…”I press on…”   In other words, “I keep pushing forward to achieve the goal of perfection, but I’m not there yet.  I may stumble, and I might even fall, but in Christ I find the strength to keep getting back on my feet and moving forward.”

A quote from the great reformer Martin Luther describes in a wonderful manner what the Chirstian life really looks like while we are still presently living in this imperfect world:

“The life, therefore, is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.  We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished but it is going on; this is not the end of the road.  All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.” 

If ever I let you down as you closely watch me grow into a perfect follower of Jesus, please forgive me.  I’ll eventually get there, but not quite yet!


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July 2011
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