"Brothers, 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, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
There is always going to be more. Until the day that we are called out of these earthly bodies and into our heavenly bodies, there is always going to be more that God wants us to do while we're here on earth. There is always going to be another person to encourage, another area of ministry to tackle, or another completely new ministry opportunity to come your way.
You know, it would be very easy for us to be content right now. We've been living here for just over a week, and every single day, as I walk around my house, I am truly in disbelief. I cannot believe that God gave us such a wonderful place to live. I look around and I am just amazed with My God who gave us this house to call our home. It really does have everything that we could have wanted. Yesterday we had our first official company over for a meal, and what a joy it was to dine in our screened in porch! God made this house possible for us, and now that we are here, now that we are in the miracle that we had been trusting Him for, it would be very easy for us to say okay, we've arrived, and now we're going to take a little break for a while. We're going to settle in and relax and enjoy our home, and we'll get back to the God stuff in a little while.
Except that as much as I am in awe over our new home, I am even more in awe because I know that God has great plans for us- plans that required us to be in this house in the first place. As I drive around this city that we've come to love, I can feel its heartbeat. I can feel such a desire for seeing this city give its desires to God. Imagine the possibilities if a whole city turned to God! It would have such an impact on the world around us. We've often seen whole communities come together after disasters to work together for common goals- but just imagine if that common goal was simply the adoration of God!
And you know, when I say that I know that God has great plans for us, I don't mean that we specifically are going to do anything that one would deem super special. It could be those great plans are simply to have us spending time in prayer. Prayer for our new neighbors and our city. It could very well be that we are to simply live here- to show everyone around us that loving God and accepting Jesus as our savior doesn't instantly turn us into something freaky and weird.
Regardless of our purpose here, we will not sit back and relax and "take a break". We will follow Paul's example, and we will continue to press in for the prize. We will continue to spend time discerning God's will for us. When even Paul says that he has not yet taken hold of the prize, we know we've got a long way to go before we can even come close. And so we will continue to strive. Right now, I have to admit, I feel like I'm in a season of compassion. For so long it seems that we've been so focused on our own needs and desires, but I think I personally am to a point where I've seen God's provision so much for us that I just know that He's going to take care of us. And while I can pray and ask Him to help us to meet our expenses and take care of our needs, I know He'll already do that. Instead, I've been focusing my prayer time on others who I know are going through their own struggles. My heart breaks for so many people these days, and all I can think is that it means that I am to commit them to prayer for a time.
I press on! Because God's will and desire for my life is ever-changing! He is always going to want more from me- and I am going to keep on giving it my all. And as I do that, my all will increase. I will find more abilities, more energy within me to keep me going. Really, it's a lot like a job. When I was in the retail world, the people who worked the hardest were always the ones who had goals for the future. They wanted to move up the ladder of success, so they would work hard at being a stocker, in the hopes of moving up to helping run a department. Those who ran a department did so with such vigor because they had hopes of managing a whole area of the store. Those managers worked hard because they had an eye on an assistant managers job, and the best assistant managers had dreams of moving up in management.
Pressing on for God's goals is no different. As I give Him my all every step of the way, my abilities and my knowledge will increase, and as each promotion comes along, there is always time for rejoicing, for relishing the advance, the greater responsibilities and the rewards that come with it. But then the work must resume, but at a higher level than before- there are added tasks and responsibilities, but the desire within me to do the very best I can do is also still there, so I work hard and do my best, learning as much as I can every step of the way. I have my eye on that ladder of success- the difference is that my ladder does not ascend within a company or a corporation. My ladder ascends all the way to God's Kingdom, and I intend to climb as far up this ladder as I can. I will press on, and when the devil comes a calling and tries to knock me down a few rungs, I am going to hold on with all I can and then triumphantly take two steps forward for every one he tries to take from me, because God is my source and will give me what I need to be successful and victorious.