Purpose

A blog that focuses on the quest to know and please God in a constantly increasing way. The upward journey never ends. My prayer is that this blog will reflect a heart that seeks God and that it will encourage others who share the same heart desire.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Constant Climb

           Reflecting Christ (Sonnet 14)
That I would be like Christ is God’s chief goal.
Oh, such a thought – His beauty to reflect,
When I am nothing but a ransomed soul.
How can I glory unto Him deflect?
This work is nothing I can do at all,
But only done by God’s amazing grace.
Each day I must see my deep need and fall
And humbly put Him in His rightful place.
It’s not a work that can be quickly done,
But through my whole life long a constant climb.
No part of life is wasted – no, not one.
Let patience do its work in God’s good time.
Though ups and downs may cause me times of doubt,
At last I’ll see Him bring His work about.

Whether you have been saved for five weeks, five years, or five decades, the need still exists to continue pursuing God. Until you get to heaven, there will always be room for growth. Fully-mature growth does not happen overnight. This should not be surprising, because the same principle is true for any worthwhile effort. Someone does not decide to become a concert pianist, a master artist, or an Olympic-level athlete, start to train, and then reach his goal in a week, a month, or even a year. He may reach his goal eventually, but only if he continues training and does not give up in the frustrating or discouraging days along the way.

So it is as the Christian pursues maturity. There will be days (and even more extended periods of time) in which it seems you are making no progress or even that you are regressing. At times you will be firmly convinced that you will never even approach the goal. In those times, do not give up. God will do His work in you. As you place yourself before Him with the desire to grow, God will change you – sometimes gradually, sometimes with noticeable spurts of growth – into the image of His Son.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” II Corinthians 3:18 (NASB)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Introduction

The blog title and quotation in the header come from one of my favorite hymns, “Higher Ground.” This hymn captures the desire of my heart, a desire that I wish were more of a constant focus and an unrelenting passion. The hymn very aptly pictures what real Christianity – life after salvation – is all about. Salvation is not merely an all-important decision that one must make, after which he can simply coast through the rest of life. Salvation is the beginning of something much bigger. Like a newborn baby or a tiny seed, a new Christian should begin to grow and flourish. That growth process will not end until Christ returns and ultimately frees man from his sin-cursed body. Until then a Christian is (or should be) constantly striving to be more like Christ, to please God more, to know Him better, to love Him more, to become more mature, to reach higher levels. No matter which phrase is chosen to describe the process, all have a common theme – that there is always higher ground to strive for. A Christian must then press on, keep climbing, and earnestly push toward that goal.

There are a lot of Christians in the world, and they do not all look alike. Some accept the gift of salvation but never progress much further. Whether from lack of desire, lack of training, or some other factor, they live their post-salvation lives much like they did their pre-salvation lives. They have escaped eternal condemnation, but with little noticeable impact on a practical basis. This anemic Christianity has several unfortunate results. It contributes to a weak church that has little influence on the world around it. It produces Christians who lack the joy and satisfaction of the abundant life that Christ can provide. It disillusions teens and young adults, who end up walking away from their Christian training. Finally, it stifles new believers, who never become active or faithful in church. There are damaging consequences individually and corporately when Christians fail to press on to higher ground.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are many sweet, godly Christians whose close walk with God is clearly evident to everyone around them. There are respected leaders and mentors who look like Christ. It is easy to recognize these Christians as people who really know God. They are examples of what Christians ought to be like. Both the world and the church need to see this kind of Christian; they need to see someone who is different, who is noticeably alive in Christ. What makes the difference? The more vibrant group did not start that way. Those people were not always as alive as they are now. No, they had to keep climbing and keep pushing higher. The other group, sadly, was content to remain where it was. Of course, not every Christian falls into one of those two groups. There are Christians at various stages in between the two extremes, representing people at differing levels of growth. Every Christian falls somewhere on the spectrum. The question to ask, however, is not “Where do I fall on the scale?” but “Am I moving upward?”

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others in the upward movement toward higher ground. The entries will discuss topics related to strengthening one’s relationship with God. These will include personal testimony, ideas for Bible study, book reviews, poetry, and more. There may not be much new information, but sometimes we don’t need something new; we simply need to be reminded of the old. There is a bit of pressure in an endeavor like this, because I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not at the top of the mountain. A blog with this purpose could seem presumptuous, as if I am saying, “This is what the higher ground looks like, and this is how I got here.” I am very aware that such is not the case. I thank God for the growth He has given and that I am no longer at the foot of the mountain, but I am climbing just like everyone else. There are days that I consider a blog like this (or any service for God) and think, “I struggle so much that I am not the least bit qualified to do this.” Rather than refusing to serve God because I am not perfect, however, I believe God wants me to take what He has given me and pass it on. My “qualifications” are the truth of God and the grace of God. Without God’s truth and wisdom, I have nothing to share. Without His grace, I not only lack the ability to share His truth but also am in danger of falling back down the mountain myself.

I pray that this blog will consistently reflect a heart that is seeking to press on to higher ground and that it will regularly be a blessing to others whose hearts share that desire. Do you share my passion? Do you want to press on to higher ground? Let’s climb together.

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)