Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"straining toward what is ahead"

As a women's Bible Study leader, one of my responsibilities is to prepare one devotional for the passage we are studying. You would not believe the stress and anxiety this has caused me the last 5 months as I anticipated my turn. I really did not feel up to the task, yet I had no choice. Last week I wrote some ideas down, and then my mom came over and gave me a hand. Here is the final result for Philippians 3:12-4:1. (Also, today is settlement on the new house!!)

"…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." (Phil. 3: 13,14)

We are in the process of moving from one house to another. There is so much to be done, like preparing our house to sell, packing up the boxes, preparing our new house to live in, and the actual move itself. In the past weeks I have found myself looking eagerly towards the "finish line" of our moving date. However, as I pack all those boxes and begin to say good-bye to our home, I find the process bittersweet. God has given us many wonderful days and years here, and I relive those memories as I empty the rooms of all traces of the life we have lived here. Though I know the Lord will bless us in the new house, I find myself holding tightly to this house. In that moment I forget my goal. Isn’t it true that we can be so attached to our lives here on earth that heaven seems like a distant reality, we lose our focus and forget the purpose for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of us? Far too often we live as Paul has said: our minds are too focused on "earthly things".

Therefore Paul calls us to a mature faith that forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead. What are the earthly things that keep us from moving forward in our faith? These can be blessings and accomplishments as well as sins and failures. Although they are important aspects of our lives, these things do not define us. We can not let ourselves be weighed down by the present things of this world that we forget that our citizenship is in heaven. Being found in Christ and his righteousness defines who we are and where we are headed.

Even as we eagerly anticipate the blessings we will have in our new home, it is not our final Home. I am confident that Jesus will continue the good work that he has begun in us until brings us to our Real Home.

LET US GO HENCE- Amy Carmichael

The world is bright:
A room set all alight,
As if the House-Lord did employ
All that He had to give us joy.
The world is bright.

And life is good;
Who doubted never stood
A happy lover in the room
Glowing with flowers of love abloom.
Yea, life is good.

Though it be true
Who loveth suffereth too
Do not love’s unimagined gains
Far more than balance all life’s pains?
They do! They do!

Let us go hence;
Dost apprehend a sense
Of something moving thee away,
Something that stirrith thee to say,
"Let us go hence"?

Not here thy rest;
Thou art a passing guest.
But if life’s lower rooms appear
So dear to thee, how much more dear
Thine own true rest.

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