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living within the big picture

Without a sense of destiny, we will get stuck living for the mundane rather than the magnificent. Not only does God have a plan for your life, he has a purpose as well.

To keep moving forward through good times and bad requires a deeper motivation than temporary circumstances can provide.

Let’s take a moment and learn from the example of Apostle Paul. We’ll let him introduce himself …

1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh — 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:1-9

Paul had a PAST … his Jewish pedigree was sparkling.

Paul had a few FAILURES … he was also a persecutor of the church.

But what was Paul’s attitude?

12 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. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. – Philippians 3:12-15

Paul lived with a holy dissatisfaction. That is different than just being dissatisfied. Paul knew that he hadn’t arrived yet. But instead of just getting busy, he stopped to focus on the BIG PICTURE. Here’s what that looked like:

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 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. – Philippians 3:13-15

What was the attitude of Paul? How did Paul live his life? You could sum it up with three phrases:

“I’m not there yet.”

“I’m not looking back.”

“I’m moving forward.”

Paul knew you had to forget what was behind – in other words, stop living there. You CANNOT run the race looking backward. That’s not only impractical, it’s also dangerous.

Paul knew that progress requires effort – sometimes it will require you strain. Unfortunately, progress takes work – it won’t magically fall into your lap.

Paul knew that the best way to move into the future was by pressing on – literally to pursue the future. If you are in pursuit of something, you’re not approaching your object passively. You’re trying to capture it.

In the end, Paul knew that in order to move forward he had to adapt his personal goals to follow God’s will for His life.

May we do the same.