Philippians 3:14-16 (MSG)
14 I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
15 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! 16 Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
You’ve seen it before, athletes staring down the track, or focusing on the ball and not idly chattering with others before the game or competition. They are visualizing the finish line, the victory, the means to get from point A, where they are now, to point B the completion. Every step of the runner is considered. Every eventual or possible play by the sports star is thought through. The journey to the finish line is not easy. A lot of preparation beforehand must be made. To simply show up at the competition without first preparing the mind and body will most likely lead an athlete down the track of failure.
Within the preparation of the athlete, not only are the possibilities of each footstep or play considered, but also the dangers. There are risks involved in competing. Injuries can occur. One false step or hesitation could lead to a devastating injury of the athlete. If the mind of the athlete is not prepared to engage in split second, total commitment then mistakes and second thoughts could lead to bodily harm.
The athlete must be prepared to engage in battle, so to speak. They prepare themselves for the opposing force. A good athlete studies his or her adversities, weaknesses, and those he or she is competing against. When this knowledge is secured, 100% is given to the effort of success, anything less than full commitment is unacceptable. It has been said that an athlete leaves it all on the court, meaning they give it their all nothing less than everything.
Is that how our relationship with Christ is? Are we committed 100% to this allegiance? Or are we crucified with Christ only on the weekends or just certain holidays? We short change the power of God and His moving in our lives if we aren’t fully committed to Him daily. Like an athlete that the Apostle Paul describes, we have to focus and press on towards the goal. Becoming like Christ, following in His footsteps take real courage and commitment! We can’t be fair weathered about it. If we are fair weathered Christians then we aren’t fully engaged in this forward motion of becoming like Christ! Just as the athlete who flinches or hesitates mid-step the consequences could be devastating to our forward progress.
The message version of the above passage says in verse 15, “If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet!” Note that God can and will guide us in the spiritual discipline of obedience. We can’t be amateur athletes of faith all of our lives. He wants more from us. God knows what we’re capable of even beyond what we know of ourselves. We cannot feast on spiritual baby formula for the rest of our earthly lives. God wants us to grow, mature and develop in us a deeper understanding of this faith that He gives us. In so doing we will realize, like Paul, the ultimate goal is Christ-likeness the prize is the eternal reward but we can live it today! We can live as eternal children of God today, but it requires our full commitment and obedience to His promptings and guiding of our lives. Anything less than a full or total commitment will cause us to doubt. A halfhearted commitment will cause us to doubt ourselves, our initial motivations, even our salvation. Halfhearted commitment will also have us question the relevancy of God in our lives and that of His power and might.
We cannot afford to be halfhearted in our focus and our aim as Christ-followers. It’s all or nothing. We too must leave it all on the court.
If any of us are lacking focus or commitment today, first of all know that you’re not alone! Every one of us struggles from time to time with our faith. Sometimes our old selves causes us to hesitate and also trips us up along the way. But it’s what we do next that counts. Get back up and keep running, keep our focus on the prize, the model of holy living: Christ himself. There’s a prayer chorus that says this;
“All there is of me, Lord,
All there is of me,
Time and talents, day by day,
All I bring to thee;
All there is of me, Lord,
All there is of me,
On thine altar here I lay
All there is of me.”
Get back out there and run and don’t look back! Get on with it!