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Friday, August 5, 2011

Celebrating the "Thus Far" Moments

"Only let us live up to what we have already attained" (Philippians 3:16).

"Perfection," at least as we understand it in our cutthroat culture of corporate competition, high-stress pressure, a zero-tolerance for mistakes of any kind, has become an infectious cancer to the spirit of true success.  No, I'm not suggesting that there are "no losers," that "everyone's a winner," or that "it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, but how you play the game."  Nor am I suggesting that you have to "win at all cost," that "there's no such thing as second place, only 1st loser," or that "if you're not on top, then you don't really matter."

Life is stuffed complete with challenges, roller-coaster ups and downs, and chock-full of successes, failures, achievements, and disappointments.  Paul, writing from the confines of imprisonment, speaks about things yet to be achieved, not looking back to the past (good, bad, or indifferent), but pressing on towards the goal of what lies ahead.  He gives a grand caution in this short, but powerful, one-liner: "don't lose sight of how far you have come and the victories that you have taken hold of.  The phrasing he uses is equivalent to saying, "you need to keep in step within the boundaries you have already come - don't lose sight of where you are."

If we let down our guard in the victories we've already moved into, we risk "going back" - keeping further away from where God wants us to be.  We can't begin a race in which we desire to win, but have already been defeated within our mind.  Winning in losing is fulfilled in our actions, but it begins with our thoughts.  There are lessons to be learned in our victories and in our defeats.  Rather than becoming discouraged with how far we still have to go, we can celebrate to where we have come "thus far."

Let this be a challenging, yet encouraging reminder to you to hold on to where God has brought you thus far.  Don't become so relaxed and comfortable that you being to ease up and move backwards.  Celebrate the victories.  But, understand the truth the iron-clad that God still has more for you and desires to move you forward.  The question you are challenged to ask yourself is, "am I marching in lock-step with Him right where I am?"  "Am I living up to where He has brought me?"  Ask God to show you whether or not you are in alignment with His desire and will for your life.  And, if not, ask Him to show you what needs to change in your life to get you back on track.  Celebrate the "thus far," but know that God desires to you advance you "further still."

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