Monday’s Blog: Enjoying the Journey Toward Maturity

Next Monday, I will be starting a new series on marriage. I don’t normally post messages on marriage on this site, but since my husband’s and my 17th anniversary is in July, I feel led to devote the entire month to honor marriage. I will be posting several guest posts and giveaways during the series. If you signed up for email subscription, I wanted to give you a heads up that I will be posting more than once a week, just for the series.

Today I want to share a message that we can all relate to, about enjoying our journey toward spiritual maturity. I’ve been following Christ for about thirteen years now. Some days I look back and think, “I really should be a lot farther along than this!” It can be discouraging knowing what God can do in you, but not having arrived there.

The Apostle Paul shared how he wouldn’t allow himself to be discouraged in his journey with Christ:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

In our lifetime, we will never reach perfection where we could sit back and say, “Ah! I’ve arrived! Now I can relax and enjoy life!” We often think “Well, I’d be happy if I didn’t struggle in this area.” But the truth is, once that area is worked out there’s plenty others waiting in line to be worked out.

Instead of being discouraged at how far he had to go, Paul set his mind above. He pressed on with joy eagerly waiting for his glorified body in Christ, as he explained in the next verses 15-21:

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

My pastor shared a message about holiness yesterday. He encouraged us, “Let us obey from our identity, not for our identity.” The journey God takes us through in life is to teach us our true identity in Christ. This journey is not to perfect us so that we can be prepared for our eternal life with God. This journey is to teach us what God has already prepared and waiting for us. This journey is to transform our hearts and minds so we can know Him and know the love He has for us, as Paul explained earlier in verses 7-11:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

We can enjoy our journey because it is not about us and what we do, it’s about Him and what He’s already done.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

God has taught me when I mess up and get discouraged I am to immediately remind myself that is my old sinful nature working.  Those weaknesses are not part of who I am now. I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone and the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17). As I set my mind on how much God loves me, and what He’s done for me, I can enjoy this journey growing in Christ.

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:20-24

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your immeasurable love. Pour out Your spirit on us and fill us with the knowledge of the love You have for us. Give us revelation of our true identity in Christ. Help us to set our minds above and enjoy the journey You have marked out for us, as we eagerly wait on You to glorify Christ in us.

In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen!

… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6




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