Some days (ok, maybe most days), I just wish that my kids would stop asking for more - more clothes; more technology; more after-school activities; more food. Just more everything! When I match their 'more' against my resources, their desires feel overwhelming. I find myself lecturing them about being grateful, about being content - to just be satisfied with all that we do do; all that they do have.
But my internal struggle is this - I want them to be content, but not complacent. I want them to be grateful but I also want them to keep dreaming - I don't want them to lose their child-like expectation that there is always something more for them. I want them to firmly believe that with God all things are possible; that He is the God of above and beyond what they've asked and imagined - that He is the God of more!
Paul understood the power of contentment - in fact he tells us in Philippians 4:11 that he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Whether he faced suffering or triumph; whether he was experiencing lack or abundance, he could do it all contentedly because God was with him - giving him His strength.
But Paul didn't allow his ability to be content to cause him to settle. His revelation of Christ and the power of His resurrection was like a beacon, calling him forward. He knew that no matter how much he had already experienced; no matter how much he had already been transformed, that there was still more to come.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
We might think of pressing on as chin up and get on with it, but when Paul said he pressed on it had the connotation of running swiftly in order to catch a person or thing; running a race with speed in order to reach the goal. It was a pressing on driven by passion, by desire. Paul did not believe in passively waiting to receive what God had for him, but in determinedly and diligently taking hold of it.
If I'm honest, there have been seasons where my desire, my passion to keep pressing on has waned. Sometimes in all the waiting; in all the responsibilities and disappointments of life, I have lowered my expectations of what is possible; of what God might want to do in me and through me. I couldn't honestly call it contentment. I must call it what it truly was - I became complacent. And the problem with complacency is that it causes us to become passive; to so accept the current status quo that we are blind to what could be. Complacency makes us lower our expectations to be in-line with our resources and not His.
Paul's ability to press on was not based on circumstances - quite the opposite. In fact, he penned Philippians from a prison cell! Yet he refused to be discouraged; he refused to settle because his focus was always on God's strength; on God's riches; on God's power and ability and not his own. He knew that Christ had made all these blessings his (Ephesians 1), and this revelation, this focus propelled him onwards and brought the reality of heaven into every aspect of his life.
Paul urges us all to have this same passion; to pursue Christ without wavering, because this expectation, this hunger for more was not intended to just belong to the young, the naive or the untested - it is meant to be the fruit of maturity. It is also the territory of those who have weathered storms, walked through valleys and seen God's faithfulness time and time again.
So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them.
Where in your life have you settled? Stopped pressing in for what God has promised?
I encourage you today to follow Paul's example and to look towards the future with your thoughts firmly fixed on Christ; fastened on every glorious work of God, praising Him always (Phil. 4:8 TPT). Because as we allow our revelation of Christ and the cross to be greater than our circumstances we will recover our desire for more.
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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