“Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us stay true to what we have already attained. Brothers and sisters, together follow my example and observe those who live by the pattern we gave you. For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame–who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself, will [not only] transform [but completely refashion] our earthly bodies so that they will be like His glorious resurrected body.”
We ALL pursue something. We are ALL in pursuit of something. We pursue relationships, a career, friendships, we pursue a “high” of some sort, popularity, we pursue truth, we pursue justice, #SquadGoals, the American Dream, and a host of other things. None of these pursuits are inherently bad (unless you are using drugs to pursue your “high” then that’s an issue for another post). The question remains: What should you pursue first?
I was a pretty good runner in high school. I don’t run much anymore unless running to the store or running the kids places in the car counts. Basically if you see me running you should probably run too, because something is chasing me! When I were in high school though I was a pretty good runner. I ran the 3.1 mile in around 16 minutes. Having only ran cross country one year. I was a guy who had no idea “how to” run. I didn’t understanding pacing or positioning. I didn’t know where the course was most of the time or what colored flag meant to turn right or left. I just knew you ran until they told you to stop, I was Forrest Gump. So most of the time I had to follow someone. My coach, Rick Hartman, was an amazing coach! Still to this day the best coach I ever seen in any sport. He was the Phil Jackson (Bulls/Lakers not Knicks) of running. He would tell us to read books, take vitamins, eat bananas (which I hated), run on a set schedule, study the course, study the opponent, and a ton of other things that I bacially ignored the entire season. I would show up every Saturday for our meet eating a McDonalds Big Breakfast and drinking a 2 Liter of Mountain Dew, breakfast of champions! So coach went a different route with me. Coach knew what I was capable of because of how well I would run in practice. So he would find one guy from another team in the meet and just tell me, stay with that guy. The scientific stuff didn’t work with me, but stalking…..errr….I mean following another runner worked well. I would stick with that guy the whole race until around the 800 meter mark, which I only knew was the mark because coach had our assistant coach wait there every meet and tell me to go, then I would turn on the kick and beat the guy (and others) that coach told me to follow every time! It was a flawless plan. Until one day I ended up losing the guy I was supposed to follow and ended up running far behind what I was supposed to run. Ooopps!
Two things I learned from that experience:
1. How good could I have been had I listened to coach and did training HIS way?
2. Always puruse the right person, place, thing if you want to be the best version you were created to be.
I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this, but God made you on purpose and for a purpose. You were created! Created by an amazing creator! Created to do amazing things! Created to bring the kingdom of God to earth, not after life stuff, that’s awesome too, but to bring the Kingdom of God to earth! That’s amazing! Most of us pursue all the wrong things. The things the world says are going to help us find joy, be a success, and fulfill our lives. I want to challenge you to pursue God first. Pursue the things of God first. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. Seek Justice. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love God with everything you have. Those are HIS ways! Those are the right things to pursue if you want to make an impact in the world today. Jesus died not only so that we could have afterlife stuff, but so that we can live life to the fullest here on earth. What is it that you are pursuing? Is it Jesus stuff or worldly stuff? Is what you are pursing helping you become who you were created to be or a very good version you, just not a great version of you, the most amazing version of You! Seek God with everything you have! Trust me, you won’t follow the wrong guy/things into mediocrity if you pursue God first! Jesus Over Everything!