“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).
In a day of casual Christianity when the hurriedness of society promotes freeze-dried, pop-up, instant, and fast track; what has become of the old-fashioned pursuit of holiness? Have Christians bought into the politics of public image? Have we grown comfortable with our “spirituality?” Can we readily recollect several ways in which we have become more Christlike this past year.
Plentiful are the Biblical examples of Christians who had grown comfortable at a particular spiritual plateau. The prophet Amos tried to stir Jews from their lethargy: “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion” (6:1).
Similarly the Apostle John warned the mediocre Laodicean believers: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). Outwardly they looked the part, acting the way Christians should, but their complacence was despicable before a holy God. These believers forgot that the spiritual life must be a continual progression. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).
Holiness is God’s most central characteristic. “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16). To be holy is to be Christlike. God sets forth no less a standard for His disciples than absolute perfection: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). While Paul recognized his own inadequacy and failing, he made a deliberate effort to forget the past, set his eye anew upon the goal, and press on towards holiness. DW