12 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. Philippians 3:12 (NASB)
The Apostle Paul often used the analogy of a runner to describe our spiritual growth. Unlike a race that has an ending with one runner reaching the goal and attaining the prize of victory, our spiritual race will continue as long as we live. We will never reach the goal of Christlikeness, but like the runner in a race we must continue to pursue that goal.
Even though the current crop of evangelicals disdain discipleship, Bible study, and spiritual growth calling them unnecessary since their sole goal is numerical growth through their evangelical ministries, we must not give in to this lie. Paul tells us that God’s will for each of His children is their sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) That means His desire for each of us is that we be holy.
How do we become holy? Is it something we just decide one day to do or is it something deeper? Read the passage I placed at the top of this post (Philippians 3:12) again.
Paul tells us that our sanctification is something we must press on to make it our own. The phrase “I press on,” translates the Greek verb διώκω (diōkō). This Greek word was used of sprinter and refers to aggressive, energetic action. Paul is telling us that we must pursue our sanctification like a sprinter straining forward at the tape to be first to break it. Think of the 100-meter Dash in the Olympics. The runners are lined up each in their own lane. They get into their blocks and await the pop of the starter’s pistol. As the starter tells them to take their marks he starts counting down. Have you noticed how all the runners raise their stance so they can have more downward force off the blocks? Then the gun goes off. All of them lunge forward as one body. They start with short, but powerful strides until they get their speed up, but as they get just a few yards out of the blocks their strides lengthen. They are moving so fast that it may look like they are taking only a couple of strides every ten yards. Then they approach the tape. All of them are within just a few inches of the leader. Then they all throw their chests forward trying to be the first to break the tape. These races are so close that they must use high-speed cameras to see who actually broke it.
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