January 6th, 2017
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14.
Heavenly Father how grateful we are that we can depend on You to help us reach our goals and live a victorious lives in 2017! May we never lose sight of the fact that Your grace is sufficient! In the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Savior we humbly pray. Amen
Today let us concentrate on the goal. Oftentimes we fail to reach our goals because somewhere along the way, we lose sight of what they are, or we begin to see them as impossible to attain. So first of all, let us take a good look at what we are trying to reach.
The prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. What a worthy goal! When I think of it two songs come to my mind: The hymn “Higher Ground” written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., and “Press On” sung by the group Selah. Although there may be some relationship in the titles their lyrics speak of two different situations.
Higher Ground is actually a prayer set to music. The author shares his experience of “pressing on the upward way”, because his heart no longer has a “desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay[.]” By faith he “has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.”
Press On is a message of encouragement to those who feel that in their experience “the valley is deep”, “the mountain is steep”, “the body is weary”, they “stumble and fall”, but “in Jesus’ name [they] press on.” They declare, “Dear Lord, with the prize clear before our eyes we find the strength to press on.”
Take note that both authors had something that kept them going – their goal. Higher ground will mean living above the mundane. In doing this our lungs will have to expand and learn how to breathe where the spiritual oxygen is purer because of the heights we hope to attain. It means being able to see what the physical eyes cannot see, and training our ears to pick up heavenly sounds – the songs of saints on higher ground!
Pressing On will require throwing overboard all excess baggage. Every and any thing that would keep us from moving upward must go. It means learning to love things that we once hated, and hate the things that we once loved (the besetting sin). It means not allowing anything to block our spiritual vision and keep us from having a clear view of the prize that is set before us.
Remember this is an upward call, and upward is always steeper! Don’t be surprised if sometimes you are tempted to give up. At times like these remember that God’s “grace is sufficient”, and that He will never allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure. And when you can go no further, He will carry you in His arms of love!
You can be victorious in 2017. God is on your side and He has promised to be by your side. He has promised to fight your battles for you. And He always wins! If He is your Savior your victory is ensured in 2017 and beyond! Now that you have a plan go out in faith to face the New Year, and by God’s grace, have a truly Happy, Prosperous and Victorious New Year!