Daily Steps to the New Life
Philippians 3:13,14 One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, we celebrate clean time, meaning that on the anniversary of your sobriety date, you are recognized for the months or years you have been clean. The brief celebration culminates in the entire group asking, How did you do it? This is your opportunity to tell those still struggling how you got to where you are.
The clean life is not something that happens accidentally. It is attained only by a purposeful, continual pursuit. So to, Paul insisted, is the Christian life. In both recovery and faith, success is not automatic or assumed. The road to destruction is broader and better populated than the road to life. The road to life is narrow and difficult. Not everyone makes it. In fact, most do not.
In today’s passage, Paul insisted the How of his life could be defined by this: abandoning the old life and pursuing the new life in Christ. This is anything but a passive process. Paul used words like strain, press on, and by any means possible. His language here reveals that the Christian life is to be an all-consuming, life-defining, profound pursuit of Christ.
If I consider myself a Christian, I must point my life at Christ and expend myself in pursuit him. To do this, I daily take these two steps: abandon the old life and pursue him. This is not automatic. Christ has done the work to provide the new life, but He does not force my behavior. If I want to dwell in the new life, I must pursue it daily.
We are not made perfect, but neither are we destined to wallow in the misery of the old life. If we will, by any means possible, abandon the old life, we may continually pursue the new life in Christ. That is how we do faith and recovery.