As we go in our pursuit of Christlikeness, part of that journey or race is to disciple those God gives us to disciple wherever He places us. Discipleship is not simply getting converts. It is taking people who believe, baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded us. That means we spend time with them. We teach them. We counsel them. We are there for them as they mature.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12 (NASB)
The Apostle Paul often used the analogy of a runner to describe our spiritual growth. Unlike a race that has an ending with one runner reaching the goal and attaining the prize of victory, our spiritual race will continue as long as we live. We will never reach the goal of Christlikeness, but like the runner in a race we must continue to pursue that goal.
Even though the current crop of evangelicals disdain discipleship, Bible study, and spiritual growth calling them unnecessary since their sole goal is numerical growth through their evangelical ministries, we must not give in to this lie. Paul tells us that God’s will for each of His children is their sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) That means His desire for each of us is that we be holy.
How do we become holy? Is it something we just decide one day to do or is it something deeper? Read the passage I placed at the top of this post (Philippians 3:12) again.
Paul tells us that our sanctification is something we must press on to make it our own. The phrase “I press on,” translates the Greek verb διώκω (diōkō). This Greek word was used of sprinter and refers to aggressive, energetic action. Paul is telling us that we must pursue our sanctification like a sprinter straining forward at the tape to be first to break it. Think of the 100-meter Dash in the Olympics. The runners are lined up each in their own lane. They get into their blocks and await the pop of the starter’s pistol. As the starter tells them to take their marks he starts counting down. Have you noticed how all the runners raise their stance so they can have more downward force off the blocks? Then the gun goes off. All of them lunge forward as one body.