When our children were young, we would often travel from Scotland down into England to visit friends. Inevitably, after an hour or so of travelling, one of our children would ask “Are we there yet?” They were tired of travelling and wanted to be able to get out of the car and play with their friends.
I think sometimes as we travel through life towards our ultimate home, we are also asking, “Are we there yet?” It isn’t that we think we are there, because we are well aware that we are still in this physical life. But it seems we want to think we are there so that we can quit doing all that we know we should be doing as Christians.
I’ve even heard one preacher tell the congregation that their years in the past were their “golden years” and that they could now relax because they had been faithful all these years. But do we get to put down our Bibles and enter into our reward before we get to heaven? Notice what Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi.
“My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are ‘perfect’ embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained” (Philippians 3:10-16 NET).
Apparently there were those in the first century who thought they had arrived. Paul explained that he wanted to know Jesus and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and to be like him in his death so that he could attain the resurrection from the dead. But, he had not done this yet – he had not yet been perfected. He was still here in this life.
So, what was he to do? He was to keep going with single-mindedness. He would forget what he had already come through because those things were behind him. That would include the successes as well as the trials.
The successes of the past did not mean that he could let up in the future. Instead he would continue to reach “out for the things that are ahead” and “strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
They weren’t there yet. They couldn’t give up because they weren’t there yet. And anyone who thought differently, that they had arrived at perfection, God will reveal to you the error of your ways.
We must continue to serve Jesus until we no longer have life in our physical bodies and our bodies are laying in a pine box. Then we will have arrived.
Readings for next week:
15 June – Philippians 3
16 June – Colossians 1
17 June – Colossians 2
18 June – Colossians 3
19 June – Colossians 4