“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3: 12a & 14
Unlike you and me, Paul never felt as though he had “arrived.” We all know that dissatisfaction can be a vice, but when it’s “sanctified by the word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:5), it is transformed into a first class virtue. As a vice, it’s a curse; as a virtue, a blessing. Those in the first category are prone to be dissatisfied with the things of lesser importance, while at the same time being perfectly content with those areas of their lives in greatest need of improvement.
When people talk about bettering themselves, they generally mean financially, either directly or indirectly. Don’t misunderstand; there’s nothing wrong with making money, but it should only be the natural by-product of doing work God has provided for and gifted us to do. If our aim is simply to make money, we’ll soon find less than ethical ways of doing it. Not only that, bettering yourself should not simply involve looking or feeling your best. Neither one is a reliable indication of God’s blessing and pleasure. For example, the rich man in Luke sixteen looked a whole lot better than the beggar, Lazarus; and we all know how that story ended. And one would have to say Samson was a far better specimen of health than Job, but which one of those two did God boast of to the devil?
On the other hand, sad to say, most of us are far more content with our spiritual lives than we should be, especially since we too often suffer from Biblical malnutrition and Spiritual poverty. The former, because we only nibble at the Word of God from time to time; and the latter, because we nurture our relationships with people far more than our relationship with God. Personally, I can tell you far more about what I like than what He likes; and, in most cases, it appears, I’d rather. (I suspect I am not alone in this.)
Here’s what I am trying to say: This year I will reach my “threescore years and ten” (Psl. 90:10), and I am often exercised in heart and mind that I am becoming too satisfied with myself. I may be in the Promised Land, but there are more mountains to climb; and like Caleb, I want to petition my Heavenly Joshua to give me every mountain in my path (Josh.14). I want to saturate my mind with the Bible, squander my heart’s affection on Jesus Christ, and drench my soul in the goodness of God. I want to walk in the Spirit just as straight as I can, not meander through my final years as though I had no place to go. I want to be like the horse that catches sight of the barn and sprints ahead with eagerness.
I want to die all out of breath…from climbing!