Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Key to Pressing On

In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul talks about his pressing on and reaching forward.  For Paul, this life was about preparing for the next.  What a great perspective, and Paul shares that perspective with Titus in Titus 2:13, when he talks about looking forward to the blessed hope and the appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.  This attitude of looking forward to heaven, looking forward to the resurrection, looking forward to glory, keeps the present in perspective.  It lets us know that there is something greater, something better, something richer, something more beautiful, something everlasting, and therefore something much much more than all this present world has to offer, which awaits us in the life to come.

While this is the perspective we are to have, what is the key for us in living out life, daily living out life, in the here and now; the pressing on for the upward call of Christ Jesus?  Again, Paul gives us the answer, and the key to us pressing on in this life, in both waiting and preparing, is faithfulness.  Not too sexy is it? But it is the key.  Paul gives us insight into this in I Timothy 1:12 when he tells us that the Lord put him into service because He considered Paul faithful.  Paul also mentions the issue of faithfulness in I Corinthians 4:2 when he said that the requirement for stewardship is faithfulness/trustworthiness (which parallels with the parable of the talents).  He echoes this in II Timothy 2:3-6 when he uses the metaphors of the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer; and what ties them all together is that they are all faithful in their undertakings.  Paul finishes this line of thinking later with a personal example in II Timothy 4:5-8 when he tells Timothy to fully complete his ministry, and then tells Timothy that is exactly what he, himself, has done..."I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."   In other words, Paul has been faithful to the Lord, faithful to his calling, faithful to fulfill to completion his ministry, faithful to the end of his life here on earth. 

Psalm 37:5 also speaks to the importance of faithfulness.  In this verse we get the picture that our faithfulness should both grow and flourish, and is part of our growing in the Lord.  In Hosea 4:1, what the Lord had against the inhabitants of Israel, is that they were not being faithful.

Christ, Himself,  talks about faithfulness in Luke 16:10 and 19:17, and the context is being faithful in the small things given now as a prelude to being entrusted with true riches in eternity.

Faithfulness can also be described and manifested in loyalty, fidelity,and trustworthiness, but it is not momentary loyalty, fidelity, and trustworthiness.  It is the loyalty, fidelity, and trustworthiness of a lifetime, not just when it is easy or convenient; but in season and out of season.  It is to put your hand to the plow and to not look back, and to continue until the plowing is finished.  It is faithfulness in pressing on, pressing on to the finish.

Without faithfulness, not only can there be no pressing on, there can really be no Christian life.  This is the true perseverance of the saints, the perseverance in faithfulness.

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