I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3:10-16
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things.
Over the next few weeks we’ll take an excursion through this famous passage and glean from it signs and symptoms of mature spirituality. This is Paul’s manifesto on maturity for “all of us” Jesus followers and not a spirituality so exceptional that no one short of the apostle can attain to it.
This is the “view of things” that all mature Christians have, how they think, how they act, and how they frame their lives. To put it bluntly, if you’re not straining for the goal to know him this way, through the cross and into the resurrection you’re not mature in Christ. Maturity is more than memorizing a bunch of Bible verses or having believed for decades without falling back to your old ways. It’s not a static thing, just holding down the fort until Jesus comes. It may include standing one’s ground but it’s not standing in one place for a generation.
Maturity is not having reached “the goal” but is reaching for it! Though it’s not having “fully attained,” it’s unquestionably more than being content with what you’ve already attained. It’s more about continually pushing at the boundaries implied, if not imposed, by mediocre ministry models.
Most people would consider Paul to have been a pretty mature follower of Jesus by the time he wrote to his friends in Philippi from a Roman jail. He was about 30 years into his journey by then and had endured countless persecutions for his outlandish and overcoming faith. But he was still in hot pursuit of a more intimate life in Jesus and a more effective ministry.
Now, from his cell he writes to the church he founded about a decade before to urge them on to this kind of maturity. If you’re “mature,” he says, you’ll take a particular “view of things,” and if you don’t take that view, the Spirit will bug you until you do!
So, this “view of things” is what we’ll unpack throughout this series of brief devotional-type posts…
Of course, one patent symptom of a mature faith is the passion to share God’s love with others. My book, Reaching Rahab: Joining God In His Quest For Friends, will appear in the next couple of weeks on Amazon, which I hope will help us all in that direction this year. Check it out and share it with someone else.