‘Forgetting What Is Behind, I Press On’
Published: 10/10/2012 3:54:54 AM
By Jim Biscardi
As each new day, month, and year unfolds, what is the central theme of the book our lives will write? What will our friends, neighbors, workmates, schoolmates, and our brethren say about us when this year ends? More importantly, what will our Lord Jesus Christ say about us?
As I asked myself these questions, I recalled Paul’s words to the saints at Philippi: I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord that I may gain Christ becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead Not that I have already obtained all this. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize (Philippians 3: 8 ? 14).
The Prize he spoke about was Christ – being like Christ! That means surrendering ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12: 1-2) so He can make us into servant-leaders, who are in the image of His Son.
All believers are simultaneously leaders and servants. We are commissioned by the Lord as disciple-makers (Matthew 28: 19-20) and as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). We, therefore, have influence over many people with whom God sets us. At the same time, we are called to follow and serve as His minister-priests (Revelation 5:10). As God told Elijah to anoint Elisha (1 Kings 19:16, 19) to take his place, similarly He gave Jesus direction and authority to anoint every believer. As Elijah cast his mantle upon Elisha, so Christ casts the mantle of the Holy Spirit upon every believer. Just as Elisha, who wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, was required to keep his eyes upon Elijah, likewise we go in the power of the Holy Spirit, and we keep our minds stayed upon our great High-Priest, Servant Leader, who is the Lamb upon the throne. As the days, months, and years unfold, let’s continually offer ourselves – without restraint – to being used in both the leader and servant roles, but especially as His servant to others!
The Great Fisher of Men leads us often into deep waters where only Christ’s outstretched, nail-driven hands provide the strength to keep serving others. We learn that it was not the nails that held Christ to the cross, but rather His love for the Father and us. Through it all, He presses into us the servant-leader qualities of self-sacrifice, faithfulness, endurance, patience, and love. Listen to what Jesus says about learning to serve: Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). ?For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves (Luke 22:27). If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you (John 13:14-15).
We are leader/pilgrims in the world wearing the mantle of the Holy Spirit. And as long as the natural man lives in us, he (the natural man) is being progressively reduced so that Christ might increase. While we serve others here, we are in training for a wondrous assignment He has prepared for us – to rule and reign with Him throughout eternity! (Revelation 22:5). Scripture tells us that the resurrected and raptured believers are dressed in glorious white robes (e.g. mantles) in heaven. We are told that after the rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4: 14-17) which could happen at any time ? at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will receive crowns; also, that we will lay them at the feet of Christ. See 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Revelation 4: 10-11.
In place of these crowns, we will receive a mantle of light – Mount of Transfiguration light ? that we carry throughout eternity and shine as the brightness of the firmament as stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:3). They (i.e. us) will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 22: 4-5). I believe that the name of Christ that will be on our foreheads is “The Light of the World”!
One day we, with Elijah, Moses, Paul and all the other raptured believers, will return with Christ to defeat the Antichrist and the armies gathered at the Battle of Armageddon ( Revelation 19: 11-16). We will follow the great Light of the World – the Sun of Righteousness – who will be clothed in a mantle of brilliant smaller stars (i.e. us) that will be flowing behind Him as every eye beholds the return of Christ. Then what God told Abraham thousands of years earlier will be literally true: He (God) took him (Abraham) outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them. Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5).
Be ready! Press on for the Prize by being yielded servant-leaders who are being shaped in Christ’s image. Especially serve others like the Master! We could see Him face-to-face at any moment!