|#24 Melissa Raddatz Henwood , a photo by smith_cl9 on Flickr.|
It's been nearly two weeks since the beginning of 2012. How are you feeling, sisters? Excited, anxious, enthused, ambivalent? By now you've had enough time to make lots of great resolutions, and either break half of them and forget the other half, or begin to see some progress.
Nobody's perfect (how many times have I heard that one?), but we all have things that we want to accomplish or a vision of who we want to be. Maybe you want to be thinner, better educated, more self-disciplined, closer to the Lord, or more fashion-conscious. I have a number of goals (not resolutions, not dreams) for 2012, involving the growth of my face painting business, graduating from college, buying a really nice camera, hosting Compassion events, et cetera, et cetera, but I know that it's going to be impossible to accomplish all my goals to their fullest extent. That's why there's one big, overarching theme that I'm going to strive for in this new year: pressing on.
"Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."(Philippians 3:12-14)
My awesome uncle/pastor inspired me with his thoughts on these verses. What is the one thing that Paul says he is doing here? He is pressing on toward the goal. How does he do this? By forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. The image here is of a race, and Paul is giving us his tips for success. We'll never forget what kind of sinners we are and what Jesus has done for us, but we are called to forget the successes and failures of the past that could distract us by indulging our self-importance or our self-pity, and we are to reach out to grasp the magnificent things that God is calling us to!
I know that I am perfect in Christ, and yet "I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet." In other words, I'm not taking my salvation for granted. This year will hold so many challenges, so many temptations, so many opportunities--and I can't just sit back and say, "Jesus is going to handle it." No, I am going to "work out" what Christ has "worked in"; I'm going to press on toward a goal that is so far beyond me that I will only reach it in eternity. But I will press on nonetheless. After all, why make goals that you can easily reach? What good are they then? If all of your New Year's Resolutions are realistically achievable, you should go back to the drawing board and dream bigger.
I'm all about getting down and dirty and making things practical, but there are so many times that I find myself writing or saying highfalutin things that I never apply to my life. So this year I'm going to try to change that. I'm going to practice what I preach. If I preach at you in the coming year, it's because I'm preaching to myself. If I challenge you this year, it's because I'm challenging myself.
I want 2012 to be my year of growth, and I hope that you want to grow along with me!