This week, while leading a Prayer Summit in downtown Calgary, Alberta, I had a moment of observation from nature that reminded me of a valuable life lesson. Standing on a pedestrian bridge during a break, enjoying a sunny and unseasonably warm afternoon, I watched the Bow River flowing below. If you’ve ever lived in a cold climate you know that calm water freezes quickly while rapidly moving water seldom ices over. With this in mind, I observed a portion of the river that was flowing quickly, clean and clear, while other areas were covered with thick icy formations.
Ice Formations in Life?
I thought of the ice in terms of the things that can cover over and cool our hearts – like apathy, fear, doubt, broken relationships, and besetting sin. Just as ice on a river obscures our view of the life and beauty beneath the surface, so spiritual failure hinders the vision of Christ on display in the heart of a believer. When our spiritual progress becomes stagnant, we are vulnerable to all sorts of “ice” that can thwart God’s purposes in our lives.
Like the flowing active water in the river, we must keep moving to prevent the ice formations. Daily diligence, unrelenting spiritual progress, and active, demonstrated faith are vital. As you read today, you might be in a sustained stagnant season. Perhaps you’ve coddled unresolved hurt, a struggle with sin, a loss of spiritual passion, or chronic discouragement. Maybe laziness has thwarted your forward progress. How do you keep moving ahead in the journey of the Christian life? Here are some ideas.
Keep Moving by Setting Your Sights on the Prize
The Apostle Paul is an inspiring example of a Christ-follower who kept moving. In his captivating and familiar words of personal testimony, he wrote:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
Paul understood very clearly that Christ had saved him for a purpose and that he could not get stuck in the past. He knew that to languish in his spiritual progress would violate his calling and jeopardize the fullness of his eternal reward. He pressed on with unmistakable resolve.
Keep Moving by a Resolve to Finish Strong
As a result, at the end of his life, Paul was able to declare, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). This past Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens were victorious in the Super Bowl, despite a marginal regular-season record. We know it is not how you start but how you finish. Like Paul, we cannot stagnate with age or experience but must make it our goal to hit the finishing line full bore.
Keep Moving by Consistent Growth in Grace
Each one of us must recognize the contrast to steady growth. In a state of apathy, we can eventually succumb to false beliefs, justified sin, and destructive thought patterns. That is why Peter wrote, “…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18).
All grace is available to help us grow in Christ. Just as God’s saving grace was sufficient to transform us when we turned to the Cross, so His sanctifying grace is sufficient to keep us moving forward in our spiritual progress. We must trust in His grace daily, regardless of feelings or circumstance. It is sufficient.
Keep Moving by Pursuing Christ
When I was a boy, my parents took me to the dog races. When these speedy greyhounds are released they chase a little mechanical rabbit that sets the pace for their sprint around the track. If the rabbit stops, they stop. As the rabbit speeds away, they are in a passionate chase.
Our “pacesetter” is the Lord Jesus. If we are going to keep moving, we must keep our eyes on His glorious life.
Hebrews 12:1-2 challenges us, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When we lose focus on Christ, we stall. Sometimes we look at circumstances rather than Christ. At other times, we look to other people as our standard rather than Christ. We look inward in morbid introspection rather than to Christ. Anything that captures our attention above Christ will diminish our forward progress.
As we look to Christ, several realities will keep us moving. He was a finisher, so we must finish. He kept the joy of reward before Him. So must we. In this joy, He endured the ultimate shame and hardship of the cross. We must persevere in our race through temporary trials, with the joy and power of His life fuelling our hearts and informing our minds.
No Parking Allowed
I’ve heard it said that the road to spiritual excellence is marked by many tempting parking places. My friend, don’t allow the allure of those places to derail your forward movement. If you do, the dangerous cold of this world’s ice will form around your heart and you will be in spiritual danger. Others who need to see Christ in you will be disappointed. I pray that today you will keep your eyes on the prize, resolve to finish strong, rely on His grace, and keep your pursuit riveted on our glorious Christ. Keep moving. It is worth it – and He is worthy of it.
Copyright © 2013 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.