“Not as though I have already attained, either have already become perfect … forgetting what is pass and looking to that which lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil3:12, 14
On this last day of my series on Freedom, I chose obedience because of the prayer initiative suggested by Anne Graham Lotz. This the seventh day of the seventh month is set aside for a 7-hour fast and prayer. Funny thing to think of Obedience as a Freedom, huh?
I love this verse. And I’m so glad the Spirit moved Paul to write it in just this way. I translate the verse saying nobody’s perfect. Not even the apostle Paul. How comforting to know that I’m not alone in making mistakes. Even willful errors. Repeatedly. Not that I should continue in sin. Nor should I be unconcerned with my sin. But by grace, I’m not bound by my sin!
Folks who have never experienced the freedom Christ gives actually think the opposite. That living a life for Christ consists of a lists of don’ts and dos. They don’t realize that the very thing they want entangles them in lies, guilt, deception, and all kinds of evil that they on’t even recognize.
But Paul instructs us to put the past behind us. To cast off our sin. That’s what repent means. Turn away. And I’m encouraged to forget about my sin. Psalm 103:12 says that the Lord removes our transgressions from us as far as the East is from the West. And Isaiah 43:25 says that he blots out our sins and remembers them no more.
This verse doesn’t just stop with sin, though. Paul encourages us to put the past in the past. Both the good and the bad. To put it behind us and move forward, neither reveling in our successes, nor burdened by our guilt. If that isn’t freedom, I don’t know what is!
And on the heals of that instruction, Paul beseeches us to press on. I tell my girl when they are playing volleyball to “bear down.” For an athlete, it means to concentrate. Get on the toes and be ready. Move faster. Push harder. And that’s exactly what Paul is speaking of in these allegory verses about running the race of our lives. Press on, reaching for what lies ahead.
The goal we strive for is obedience – the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
This brings me around full circle. Obedience – If my people, who are called by My name shall humble themselves … (Prayer is the first of this series.) Interesting to me that the Library of Congress corner arch pictured above speaks to walking humbly before God.
So I’m striving to do that to which He has called me. Simple obedience. Daily. Sometimes moment by moment. Today, for me, it’s a call to prayer, preparations for the tasks God has set before me, and completing the writing project He has given. Tomorrow? I’ll press on then, too.
I was inspired by a call from Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne, to spend the first 7 days of July in prayer for the United States. Her article is here. I hope you will join me in this challenge. Anne writes:
Pray! in the 7th month, July
Pray! on each of the first 7 days of July
Pray! and fast on July 7th for 7 hours
Our country so desperately needs to return to God. “Protect Your people, Oh Lord.”
This is the final day of the prayer initiative and my final post in this series on Freedom. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Be blessed for the remainder of this week and I’ll chat with you again next Tuesday.