Do you ever feel stuck, spiritually speaking?
Maybe you feel like you haven’t grown much since you began your faith journey. Maybe you’ve been going through the same motions for years. If so, you are probably tired of the same old scenario day in and day out.
Pressing Toward the Goal
Being stuck is frustrating. So much wasted time. The same daily grind. If you are stuck, you are not alone. But it’s time to move forward. The apostle Paul continually pressed toward his goal of becoming or being mature in Christ. He acknowledged that he had not attained the goal, but he kept moving forward. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Paul confessed he was not perfect, yet being stuck was not an option. He painted a great picture of a runner who strained toward the goal. In other words, Paul assumed responsibility for his spiritual growth.
Track and Field athletes must prepare for their competitions way before they reach the starting line. As a former track athlete I can tell you it required conditioning and strength building in order to compete. If you want to get in shape for track season, then you should start with a well-orchestrated training plan.
Train Yourself to be Godly
Paul challenged Christians to partner with God in the process of becoming more Christlike. He told believers to “train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Paul borrowed a term from the realm of athletics. The verb is translated in different versions of the Bible as “exercise,” “discipline,” or “train” originally referred to the training of young athletes for participation in the competitive games of the day.
Although Timothy had been Paul’s companion and co-laborer for a number of years, Paul still felt it necessary to write to him, “(exercise) train yourself to be godly.” And if Timothy needed this encouragement, then surely we also need it today.
Many of Christians stay in the same place spiritually despite God’s clear instructions to press forward. We’ve heard sermons, read books and attended conferences, yet we are the same. We know that there is more. So, why are we still stuck in spiritual adolescence?
I believe it is because many Christians don’t know who they are. Most Christians like understanding in who God created them to be. We are tempted to find our identity based on society’s viewpoint. Yet, Genesis chapter 1:27 says, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
The stakes are high. Knowing who you are is critical. You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
In this day, it is important to know who you are in Christ. The invitation to follow Him is an invitation to a new identity. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Moving forward in your faith requires strength, stamina and confidence. It brings blessings and fulfillment in this life and rewards in eternity.