Not There Yet

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

May 24, 2024

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Not There Yet

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Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Think

As you labor through the final miles of a marathon, your body is screaming for relief. Your lungs burn with each breath and your legs feel like they’re about to give out. The crowd’s cheers are meant to motivate, but amidst your pain, they feel more like distant echoes. Then, unexpectedly, a runner pulls up alongside you. “You can do this!” Out of the corner of your eye, you recognize him as a celebrated champion. This isn’t just any runner, but one who has faced the same grueling challenge and prevailed. Understanding the brutal reality of these final stretches, he continues to run alongside you. His decision to join you not only lifts your spirits but also reinvigorates your stride. Sharing the road with someone who intimately knows its challenges serves as a reminder that you're not in this alone.

This illustrates a deep truth about life's struggles. Like the endless miles of a marathon, life’s challenges can make our goals feel hopelessly distant—whether it’s healing from a loss, achieving financial stability, or seeing the fruits of our labor. It's in these moments of sheer exhaustion, when the finish line seems an impossible dream, that the full weight of our journey hits us. Yet, it's precisely here, in the depths of our struggles, that we realize empty assurances won’t suffice; we need something genuine to keep us moving.

The Apostle Paul’s words echo this sentiment, reminding us that reaching full spiritual maturity is like running a long, demanding race. He admitted he hadn’t achieved perfection but emphasized the importance of pressing on, despite the challenges. This is not a call to seek immediate victories but to persist through trials, continuing the effort even when the end seems nowhere in sight.

When our path gets rough and our own strength falters, the companionship of someone who understands the journey can change everything. The champion marathoner, by choosing to run alongside you, shows the power of shared struggles and the difference that real encouragement can make. We are not left to run our races alone; Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us every step, bringing comfort and guidance that propel us forward. His companionship gives us strength, encouraging us to press on toward the mark, toward the finish line.

Apply

Isolation can magnify the difficulty of any challenge. Do you have a godly support group around you as the miles get tough? Join a small group, serve team or Bible study. Find encouragement and be an encouragement to others.

Pray

Lord, thank you for your constant presence in my life during the tough days. Give me grace to acknowledge my struggles without being overwhelmed by them. Provide me with friends who can understand and share my burdens and triumphs. Give me perseverance so I can honor you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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