Philippians 3:12-14 – “Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus…13 one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
It is one thing for us to acknowledge along with the Apostle Paul that we haven’t grasped it all and become perfect, that we are in process, it’s another thing for others to tell us. Customer surveys have become a big part of our society in which we want to know people’s experiences. We can have nine out of ten positive reviews, but what is the review we focus on? Due to the fallen nature of man, there will never be a time where we don’t have to learn and grow and there will never be a time when we won’t have negativity towards the process. The question becomes, are we going to be so focused on our critics and our shortcomings that we grow discouraged despite the positives, losing heart in becoming all that Christ is shaping us to be?
Every day has a new choice to be made. Will I learn from my mistakes, be humble to acknowledge where I’m strong and where I’m weak, rest in God’s grace, and then press into becoming more? Or, will I focus on my dissenting voices, will I meditate on where I’m weak, will I decide it’s not worth it and shrink back into a cozy, self-centered, existence?
Jesus himself had his detractors. Jesus had people walk away. Jesus gave a parable in which he said as you go about sowing good into the world, only 25% of that will result in bearing fruit itself. We can choose to become discouraged, say to ourselves, ‘what’s the point?’ Or, we can decide to make our lives about honoring Jesus regardless of our critics, and regardless of the results, trusting Him to reward us in His kingdom that will last forever. Let’s learn from our mistakes and shortcomings, let’s celebrate the progress we make pressing towards God’s ideals, and let’s pray for God to help us discern who has our best interest in mind when people speak into our lives.
“Anyone who hasn’t made a mistake hasn’t tried something new.” – Albert Einstein