Pressing On

road photography
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12
Everyone who has taken a summer road trip knows this feeling and this question: “Aren’t we there yet?” This is a hopeless question. If we were there, we could tell. By the very asking, we have the sad answer. No, we’re not there. We’re still driving just like we’ve been for hours.

But though logic says we’re not there yet, we can’t help but asking. Our question is a thinly-disguised complaint. We should be there by now. Why aren’t we?

Do we ask this question of God? “Aren’t we there yet?” It’s the expectation that somehow our lives should have arrived at the place we had in mind. That place is probably however we define peace and perfection. Shouldn’t we have gotten there by now? I’m not complaining, but I am asking.

Isn’t it remarkable mercy that God lets us ask and complain? And then he reminds us of this truth said by Paul. We’re not there yet. We haven’t missed a turn that would have parked us in perfection. If even Paul wasn’t a completed project, a perfect man, then we can’t expect God is done with us yet. Peace is not planting ourselves in a past perfection. Peace isn’t finding the Garden of Eden, letting ourselves in, and locking the door behind us. Peace is found with the God who chooses to walk with us. Peace is walking with the patient and merciful God who listens to our questions and answers with mercy: “No, we’re not there yet. I haven’t finished shaping and changing you. And, you haven’t shaped and molded all the lives I have in place for you to touch.”

Peace is a life that is moving, not one that has arrived. As we move ahead, we do so with the forgiveness and mercy of God. In fact, the fact that we say with Paul that we are not yet perfect means we are tied to God by grace alone. That grace connection becomes our peace and gives a purpose to what we’re doing right now. No, we’re not there yet, but we’re moving ahead with God’s grace.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, thank you that you have chosen us even though we haven’t arrived in any perfect place. But you continue to walk with us and help us see the value of that walk by grace alone. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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