Christians need to realize that the faith we confess and live is more than something we believe in our heads. It is a life-changing, heart-altering, perspective-changing journey with Jesus. It is a journey where we are constantly discovering and then accepting who we are right now while becoming who God means for us to become.
There is a word for all that: process
The Christian walk is not a finish line. It’s not a goal or an achievement. It’s an ongoing, ever-changing, relationship with Jesus. it’s a progression of GROWING and CHANGING, of EMBRACING and REPLACING, of LISTENING to God’s voice and LIVING out who He says we are.
It’s a process and a journey, and it will last the rest of our lives.
Following Jesus is an ongoing, ever-evolving experience. And the sooner we realize that it is not a destination, that we never “arrive” or totally “make it” the better. And, when we accept this fact then we can actually enjoy the journey.
The writer to the Hebrews tells us that it is a race. “… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1b). As I have been thinking about the race that I am on personally I have determined that I will do everything possible to finish well and not just dribble over the finish line or miss the finish line totally.
The Holy Spirit goes on to say that to run with endurance and change today so we can become all God wants us to be tomorrow requires:
1> That we “lay aside” (Hebrews 12:1) every weight, worry, anxiety, and sin that clings so closely and occupies so much of our time, attention and energy. We need to recognize that He is God and that He is in control of all aspects of our life and thus we do not need to feel or even actually be weighed down by unnecessarily concern and worry, sin or sickness. We have been set free and we need to walk in that freedom on a daily basis.
2> That we “look to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) as he is the Perfecter and Founder of our faith. He is our example as He ran His race and finished well. He has lived as we live – with temptations and pain – and understands what we are going through. He finished His race well and thus set an example for us; an example that we should “look to.” As we do, we will find strength and encouragement to keep running the race that He has determined we are to run personally.
3> And, thirdly, we are to “consider Jesus” (Hebrews 12:3) so we don’t grow weary or fainthearted as the race continues day after day after day. It is a long race and will take endurance (a fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). And, as Jesus ran His race successfully by constantly looking to His Father so we will run our race successfully by “considering Jesus” and looking to His example – His life and ministry, His attitude and approach, His strength and grace.
So, we must not stop ‘becoming.’ We must continue to move forward. We must ‘run’ the race that He has set before us. We must endure. We must follow Jesus’ example. And, we must look to Him daily for His encouragement and help. We must never succumb to “destination disease” thinking that we have arrived. We never do.