Philippians 3:12 "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.13 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, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind."
Today's passage has so much in it. Paul confesses he is not Home yet but he is on the way. It speaks to the constant challenge of staying the course. Fifty percent of marriages end off course. They began with a life long commitment, they began with joy and hope and dreams and great intentions but somewhere along the way one or both began to get off course. Perhaps it was an affair. Perhaps it was an addiction. Perhaps it was unmet expectations. Perhaps it was an unexpected tragedy like the death of a child or a chronic illness. Perhaps it was just plain neglect. No matter the scenario somewhere along the way "for better or worse until..." was lost sight of.
Now let's return to the context of the letter. The Philippians are upset because Paul is in prison and God is not doing anything about it. I can assure you that this line of thinking if held onto will end with the Philippians losing their faith completely. Trouble leads to complaining, complaining leads to disillusionment and disillusionment leads to abandonment. The only cure for this spiral is perspective. "Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus". Would Jesus quit? If Jesus was my husband and I got MS and was unable to give Him children would He divorce me? If Jesus was my husband and I cheated on Him would He just cut me loose or would He fight for me? If Jesus were my husband and things got too tough would He look for greener pastures?
What about dark valleys? If Jesus was left to rot in prison and all His followers were praying for His deliverance but His Father just left Him there, would He turn on His Father? In sports they fight for the prize and we cheer yet in matters of faith when things get hard we doubt and then complain and then become disillusioned and turn away. But not Paul. He says plainly "I know I'm nothing like Jesus yet but I want to have His mind and His heart and so I press on. He went through far worse than I am going through and He never quit so I'm not quitting either. His journey to save us cost Him His own life and if my journey to follow Him costs me mine so be it."
Perspective. How quickly we can lose it. How long it can take sometimes to get it back.
Next time you feel yourself doubting or hear yourself complaining ask yourself this question. If the situation were reversed what would I want? If it was me in the bed would I want my spouse to stay? Then why am I thinking about leaving?
When in doubt look to the One we are following. Life is hard because we're not Home yet. Press on. Today.