Keep Moving Forward
. . . Attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children . . . Ephesians 4:13-14
A while back, I met a man who’d been sober for seven years and then relapsed. Those stories always scare me a little. How can you be sober for seven years and then go back? What happened? It was a predictable answer. Simply, he stopped working on his recovery and then life happened. He quit going to meetings, doing his daily readings, and meeting with his sponsor. In his apathy, he stopped moving forward. Then, in that fragile state, a few unfortunate life events just pushed him back to the old life.
I’ve used this analogy before, but because it’s so important to me, I’ll share it again. Life is like an escalator which naturally moves downwards towards self and our way. If we do nothing, we simply drift towards our will, which is eventually disastrous. At the top of the escalator is the Christian life – abandoning self to live in a loving relationship with the father. Just to keep in one spot on the escalator, we must continually move. Doing nothing is the same as deciding to go back to the old life.
In today’s passage, Paul spoke of the grace God has given us to grow us into maturity, that we may no longer be children. This process of growth is meant to be continual. We’ll never be made perfect in this life. Jesus said we must daily abandon ourselves to follow him (Luke 9:23). Paul, even in all his life accomplishments, said that he’d not yet arrived and that he kept pressing on towards knowing Christ more (Philippians 3:12).
As Christians, we often look back at some moment in time where we put our faith in Christ, and then live as if things are settled and done. In reality, that moment was supposed to be the beginning of change, not the end. If we’re honest, we all have things on which we must work. None of us have arrived and we all must keep moving forward. To do nothing is to move backwards towards self and the old life.
Growth isn’t something I work on only on Sundays, or once a year in January. If I want to become who I was meant to be, I must purposefully build this process of growing into my daily routine. Daily, I must read, pray, and go to God, asking him what he wants of me. Then, I must do whatever he asks if I want to keep moving forward.