Philippians 3:12-16 – “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. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” NASU
I am convinced that a major principle in spiritual maturity is realizing that you have not arrived! The apostle Paul, a man stretched beyond that of most, tested beyond most, and yet is able to make this amazing declaration. He said, “I have not attained.” He confessed that he had not achieved the ultimate in spiritual growth but he refused to look back and focus on the past but was ‘pressing in’, ‘reaching for’ the attainable in Christ.
I love the translation of the word ‘teleios’ in the Greek which means COMPLETE with regard to labor, growth, mental, and moral character. It means a mature person. So Paul is saying that those who are ‘spiritually mature’ have the attitude that they have not arrived but are pressing in to attain the attainable in Christ. They are to refuse to let the past sidetrack them and have their eyes on the ultimate goal in God consistently.
I watched a situation once where a person lived several miles from the church yet no matter how difficult it was he found a way to attend services and other activities. Then he moved near the church and was frequently absent. He confessed to me that when it was difficult he stayed focused but when it became easy he was easily distracted and sidetracked. That is so true in many lives and one of the reasons that there is growth in persecution. In those times when we know that we have not made it and have to stay focused to have that relationship and fellowship with God we grow. In times of ease we sometimes take things for granted and allow little things to distract or sidetrack us. I am not saying we should pray for persecution or difficulty but rather we should become so complete in our commitment and focus that in times of ease we take advantage of the open door rather than allow distraction.
I want to be a vessel in the Master’s hands that is usable, a tree in His orchard that produces fruit in abundance. I want to be a light in His lighthouse. I want the gifts He has deposited in me to be fully used and beneficial to the church and kingdom. I want to attain the attainable spiritually. I want Christ in me to be manifest to the world in such a powerful manner that when they see me they do not see me but Him who lives in me. I want my life to be a demonstration of His Love and Life!
May God be with you as you go through your day!