There are so many things you can learn about, but you’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut. Dr. Seuss
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14 ESV
So, let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Phil 3:15-16 MSG
20/20 vision is a beautiful gift of being able to see clearly. As a young person I was fitted with “gas-permeable” contact lenses to compensate for near-sightedness. Later, I had PRK laser surgery before LASIK became popular. Waking up and being able to see clearly was a miracle I will never forget. Yet, for years after the surgery, I would awkwardly try to remove contact lenses that were no longer there because of years of ingrained habit. Another weird thing for me was a built-in fear of losing my contact lenses. I often had a strange dream where there were hundreds of lenses on the bathroom sink and I didn’t know which were mine! As people of habits and fears, we can be resistant to change and not even “see” the way ahead. As the new year begins, let us take the opportunity to look for the upward call, to let go of what is behind us, and press on together.
Move Forward. Take personal action:
- “Press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.”
- “Strain forward to what lies ahead…the goal for the prize of the upward call.”
- “Hold true to what we have attained (in spiritual maturity).”
Run Together. There is also action to be taken in community:
- Track with other runners. Keep your eyes on those who live as mature disciples. In other words, track with those who run the race in faith, as followers of Jesus, moving toward deeper intimacy and knowledge.
- Be a citizen of heaven. Keep your eyes on making the kingdom of God great again.
Keep your eyes on those who live as we do. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! ” Phil 3:17-20 MSG
Reflect and Practice. Set aside some time to prayerfully and quietly seek God’s vision for the way ahead in 2020.
- Pray. Ask God to show you what he has purposed for you in the coming year. “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.”
- Search God’s Word. Read through Scripture and journal your insights. Look for words or phrases that “jump out” as guides for the year ahead.
- Be Active. Pay attention to your natural talents and spiritual gifts and do the things you are passionate about or that bring joy. Sharing faith and service in community is the “joy and crown” of life.
- Seek Spiritual Direction. We need community and accountability with like-minded friends who seek to hold true to living out faith and obedience. Set up regular times with a mentor or small group that will help you run toward the prize.