Pressing Toward the Mark
In an earlier blog post, I talked about the welcome table Vernon built, that you are greeted by when you come in our front door. Funny thing is there was nothing outside of that door to lead you to that welcome table. You see there was no sidewalk to the front porch, just lots of grass. I just didn’t understand why no one thought it would be a good idea to put in a sidewalk. We have a very large front yard and the walk from the drive way to the front porch is not a short walk at all. When it rained you had to walk through wet and muddy grass, not very fun for your shoes. So my daughter Soñée and I decided we would put in a sidewalk. We both knew right away that a concrete sidewalk would not work. You see, our front yard looks like a park. So whatever we put down had to look like it had always been there, and it had to look like part of the landscape. Like always we prayed first. We asked God what would He use. He guided us to some stones that were already on the property. We gathered all the flat stones we could find, there were many, and started on our new sidewalk. We began at the very end of last winter. We worked for 2 hours on the days the weather was good. Sometimes weeks would go by when we were not able to work on the sidewalk because of farm duties. But when we had the available time, we worked. When it was time to start the garden, the sidewalk had to be put on the back burner. Once the garden was up and running we were able to give a little more time to the sidewalk. Not only were we putting in a sidewalk in the front, we were putting a sidewalk in the back yard. The back yard space was not as long so that got finished first. We kept pushing on in the front and soon we could see the end was near.
I remembered praying “Lord please help us to finish soon”. Talk about having patience, there had to be a lesson in this that the Lord wanted us to learn.
We set a time that we would finish the sidewalk, by the end of September 2017. So we started pressing toward the mark. Then it hit me the lesson that God wanted us to learn. In our Christian walk we start off strong sometimes ready to take on anything, then something happens, we get busy, something comes up that takes us away from our time with God. We have all heard of the word "erosion." When something erodes, it is either eaten away or worn away. Erosion is a process whereby something which was once a thing of beauty, or a strong pillar of some type, has deteriorated. We have all seen or heard of beach erosion after a major storm comes in from the ocean and causes damage to the beach. Well, this is a parallel to our Christian walk. As we go on in years, the same type of situation can occur in each of us. Our secular lives, if we do not remain vigilant, can begin to erode our spiritual walk. I am speaking of becoming more enmeshed into the world's system than we want to be. This could happen because of adverse circumstances in our lives which seem to be chronic. This chronicity can be manifested in a disease, a bad home situation, a bad job situation, or anything which may affect our lives on a major scale.
No true believer wakes up in the morning and says, "I think my Christian walk is going to erode today." Basically, what happens is a drifting process. Our Christian walk begins to erode gradually and not necessarily on a voluntary basis. In other words, we are not planning to sin. Sometimes chronic situations come into our lives, and then a gradual shift begins to occur. The situation is so overwhelming that we begin to start shifting more of our attention to the situation and less attention to our Christian walk. We begin to lose sight of who the Savior is. In Philippians 3:14 it says “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (For we walk by faith and not by sight). Our purpose in life is to Know the Savior, and when erosion comes into our lives that takes us away from our goals to know Him, we feel lost; we lose faith in pressing toward the mark. There were times I felt we would never get back to finishing the sidewalk because so many other things were getting in the way. I was losing faith.
The word faith in this verse is the Greek word 'pistis', which is translated as 'believing'. We walk by believing the promises of God, even before we ever see them. In other words, we don't have to see it to believe it. So, the Christian walk is walking in our new mind, in the spirit, and in believing God doesn’t change, but walking with God takes faith. There are times when you feel great joy, passion, and excitement about being a Christian. And there are times when you don’t feel it. But that doesn’t mean you say, “Well, that’s it. I’m not going to follow Christ anymore.” It takes commitment. And it takes consistency.
It was through that consistency and commitment, even though there were those things that took us away from working on the sidewalk and it felt like we would never get back to it, we pressed toward the goal and on the last week of September we put the last flat stone in place. What a feeling of accomplishment, great joy, passion, and excitement, pushing through the stuff that got in the way, and now looking at the finished product. God is truly a good God. We cannot let the things of this world get in the way of our walk with Him; we have to keep pressing toward the mark.