Graduation – The Victor’s Crown
My favourite thing about being a Christian is the fact that I constantly find myself in a place whereby once again - I do not know anything about anything. And as soon as I know something then I know nothing again. This for me is most humbling experience. What an amazing journey.
What do I mean? When I attended Primary school, it started with Primary Class One, when you did well and passed your exams you then got promoted to class two, three, four until seven. After class seven, you would then graduate onto high school. Each class lasted a year. The only prerequisite for moving on from one class to a higher class was studying hard and passing your exams. With every class came new subjects to learn that were more difficult than the previous class. The number of subjects per class also seemed to increase the higher you went. Every year, you found yourself in a new class, with new subjects to learn, perhaps a new desk and new teachers.
Whilst in Primary school, I never met any student who consciously decided to stay in a class at the end of the year. It was only in those cases where students did not pass their exams that they would then be asked to repeat a class – for it’s entire year, and all subjects, again! Thank God I never repeated a class. Repeating a class placed a burden on the student’s parents and also what that meant was this student had now fallen behind his peers and people of his own age.
Good students always had their eyes on the prize. They aimed to study hard and pass their exams every year for seven years with the hope of graduating in the seventh year. The best students pressed on when it was difficult, woke up early, stayed up late, approached their teachers when they did not understand, stayed out of trouble and always did as they were told. These are the ones whose names would be remembered and referenced for years after the class graduated.
Today, I found myself reflecting on this primary school experience and how it relates to my personal walk with Christ. In 1 Philippians 3:14 Paul writes, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
As you read this entire section of the scripture it is very much as though Paul was laying out our Christian school structure as follows:
Knowing Christ, eternal life.
“I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
Classes to Attend:
“Not that I have already obtained all of this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.”
Promotion and Graduation:
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
As the phrase goes, “A good Christian, is a growing Christian.”
To grow we must study the word daily, meditate on it and be doers of the word, walking in the Spirit and in love. As we study, diligently, the Spirit leads us into new levels and deeper understanding of the word of God and leads us from maturity to maturity – “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Depth and Maturity
In a prayer for the Ephesians, Paul writes,
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
As we press on, studying and grasping we come to maturity!
“.. until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ”
The gospel a mystery
My Christian walk is an exciting adventure. As I study the word and grow, I am continuously humbled by the new layers of depth that there are in the love of Christ and in the knowledge of God. It always seems new. It’s enlightening as the Spirit leads me into different sections of truth. it’s exciting every time I come into the revelation of a thing. It’s adventurous like a flowing river. It’s my daily reward knowing the He is infinite and his wisdom knows no end.
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
Job 11:7 (NIV)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Revelations 22:13 (NIV)
Graduation – The Victor’s Crown
In several instances, Paul writes to encourage us to lead a life worthy of our calling. He calls us to run a good race and reminds us of the reward that the Lord has promised to those who persevere and are victorious.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever”
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
I pray that we too , like Paul, will remain steadfast, stay in the race and press on in our walk with Christ towards victory.