February 20, 2010

BW3 on Holy Discontent

I had a chance to spend some great time with some men from my church this morning at our monthly breakfast. Our discussion topic was about how you balance safety and risk, balance day-to-day needs with eternal priorities. It was a great opportunity to reflect on how we make choices: are the ways we actually think and decide and act really consistent with what we value most highly? It is such great food for thought. I've been thinking since last fall about Col 3 and the theme of having our mind set on things above, something in which I think I often fall short. It's not a call to escapism but instead to living with a baptized imagination for how our lives could be.

Then I got home and read a great blog post from Ben Witherington, which I'm excerpting here:

St. Paul puts it well--- "not that I have already obtained all this (i.e. perfection, full maturity, becoming Christ like, the resurrection etc.) or have already arrived at my final goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me. Brothers and sisters I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining forward towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3.12-14)

Now we have gotten to the nub of the matter. Paul is talking about doing, a doing which leads to the right end. He expresses his holy discontent not with his circumstances, not with his situation, not with his mortal frame, not with how God made him, but with the fact that he has not yet arrived where God ultimately wants him to be in his life. Indeed, none of us have done so, who are still alive and breathing on terra firma. Paul is not berating himself in a way that either denigrates or denies what God has made him to be, or what Christ has already accomplished in him. But a holy discontent forgets what lies in the past and press on with the upward call of doing better, and in the end being all that we were meant to be. We are meant to be a restless people until we find our final rest in Him, until we reach the goal. And here is what this means.


What a great reminder about being reflective, about not giving into the pop psychology idea of self-acceptance but instead living with a holy discontent, in pursuit of God's good and perfect will. What a great (and challenging) way to live. Press on.

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