Pressing On Towards the Finish Line
In Philippians 3:17, Paul writes, "Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us."
I remember running a 5k a few years ago. I didn’t train a whole lot for it. It felt like quite a labor to run five kilometers a day or so before the race. But when I actually got to the race and joined in with hundreds of other runners of all skills and styles and we ran together as one, I was fired up. I could have kept running. My time was not too shabby for what I had expected.
The same is true for the Christian pressing on in faith towards heaven, pressing on in holiness. We need one another. We need encouragement. We need to hear from others who have their eyes set on the same goal we do.
I hope you can think of men and women in your life you’ve been able to imitate. I can think of one couple I knew who lost two of their children in tragic ways yet kept pressing on. I can think of a friend who is same-sex attracted and has committed to repentance and celibacy while he presses on in Christ. I can think of a friend who immerses himself in God’s Word and expresses the joy of Christ even when he’s discouraged. Maybe you can think of Christians in your life you’ve seen pressing on to know Christ, to share both in his sufferings and his resurrection power, even in the midst of trial. Are you seeking to imitate them?
On the other hand, are you seeking to be "imitate-able"? Can you see yourself saying something to another believer in your church something like Paul says here? Could you say, “Look at my life. Follow my patterns as I press on towards Jesus”? You know, it's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the life of the church, however, imitation is one of the sincerest forms of perseverance, of pressing on in the new, redeemed life given us in Christ.
Let's work together to imitate and be imitated as we strain forward towards the prize, for Christ Jesus has made us his own (Phil. 3:12).