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Pressing On Towards Christlikeness

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining 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)

The goal of every believer is to pursue Christlikeness. This is what Paul is pointing out in the passage. In addition to that, we can note three truths from Philippians 3:12. First, the foundation of our perseverance is Christ. He made us His own. Second, we are not there yet. We are still running the race. We are still fighting the good fight of faith. Third, though our preservation is God's work, He is preserving us through enabling us to persevere and to press on towards our common goal which is Christlikeness. God's people will persevere by God's enabling and empowering grace and by using God's means (Word of God, prayer, church, etc.) to the advancement of His glory.

So if our preservation depends fully on God, what can we do to persevere? Can we just be passive and not do anything? How do we persevere in faith knowing that our preservation is secured by God? How does this translate to our daily life?

Perseverance involves not just our mind, but it involves the whole of us. It involves a serious effort to utilize all the means that God provided for us. It consists of not just a one time big time effort, but a daily consistent effort to press on and run the race towards Christlikeness. It's ultimately God's work but He works through us, enabling us, and empowering us. This is why the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to "let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Pressing on to our goal of Christlikeness means consistently and daily, desperately and earnestly believing, and fighting the good of fight by continuously looking at Christ and treasuring Him every day, and utilizing the means that God has given us to spiritual growth. And we all do these still wholly depending on God's grace and mercy to us, and not to our own strength.

Let this be our prayer: "Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21)

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