When the Israelites milled in confusion at the Red Sea, and lookouts shouted the approach of Egyptian chariots, the people “were terrified and cried out to the Lord.” God told Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on” Exodus 14:10, 15.
When the apostle Paul summarized his discipleship in AD 61, with a lifetime of experiences fueling his quarter-century apostolate, he refused to consider he had “arrived” at spiritual maturity. Indeed, he pressed on “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on...” Philippians 3:12-14.
Jesus always calls us forward to him—because he’s always ahead of us! To his tremendously exciting, transforming presence he calls us. To the ever-deepening experiences of his spiritual life. To the delight of finding in his word the new spiritual discoveries that strengthen our faith.
He also calls us to increase fellowship time with those already beyond our discipleship level. They serve as models of what we can still become. In his book At Ease, General Eisenhower offered challenging advice, based on his acquaintance with General Fox Conners. Knowing him later opened doors for Ike. Which he appreciated. But more importantly, Conners was a person who made Eisenhower a better person by associating with him.
The late Frank Broyles modeled that persona. One of the boys who played football for him at the University of Arkansas said he couldn’t necessarily make you a better player but being with him made you a better person.
The obverse of Christ’s call to fellowship with stronger Christians is to decrease the time spent with those uninterested in Christ’s new dimensions; who remain mired in old constructs of thought and behavior, rutted in empty, frivolous opinions and discussions.
That’s always Christ’s will for us. To go forward with him, whatever changes he makes in us; to desert the past with old acquaintances that always keep us chained where we WERE and never challenge us to freedom that moves us FORWARD to Jesus. –End, Part I-