Let’s Live Up to What We Have Attained

By Pastor Teck Uy

As we mature in the Lord, much is expected of us. We no longer live the way we did in the past, nor do we go back to those old ways. While we are all maturing, there will still be some differences among us in the manner we live our lives. This is because we have different levels of faith. Nevertheless, this should not be a reason for us to become contentious and eventually backslide. It is for this reason that the apostle Paul encouraged the believers in his epistle to the Philippians, saying, “And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained” (Phil. 3:15-16). Matured believers are expected to be seasoned in the application of the Word of God. They are not like infants being tossed to and fro. Rather, they should know where they stand, as stated in the Book of Hebrews: “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14). 

The reason why some cannot grasp the message of the Lord and apply it accordingly is because they do not have the wisdom that comes from God. The apostle Paul said, “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began” (1 Cor. 2:6-7). We need to grow in our faith. Sooner or later, we will all attain the level where we could understand each other fully. Therefore, we need to press on towards the goal. Just like the apostle Paul, we need to forget what is behind us and strain towards what is ahead.

It is not easy to live up to what we have already attained in the faith. However, it helps to know that there are examples set before us that could serve as patterns. The apostle Paul himself admonished believers to follow in his footsteps when he said, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (Phil. 3:17). Rather than inventing our own way, it is a lot easier to follow the good examples set before us. The way to heaven is a one-way street – there is no turning back. No matter how difficult the road is, we just need to press on and not look back.

Many of those who have chosen to turn back have wrong priorities. Serving the true and living God is not a priority to them. The apostle Paul was quick to add, “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18-19). Yes, they become enemies of God, though they call themselves “Christians”, because they are selfish and self-centered. They are like gluttons – there is no contentment and the more they get, the more they want. It is as if they are here to stay forever. However, the reality is that we are just passing by, because we are heaven-bound. We need to drop everything that will hinder us in our journey to heaven. 

To emphasize that destruction is the destiny of those who make their stomach their god, Jesus gave the Parable of the Rich Fool. In this parable, the rich man kept building new barns to store his riches, hoping that this will secure his future. However, God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20). Indeed, no one can take their possessions to heaven and they will never benefit from these things when they die. Therefore, we need to hold on to that which matters to God. Let us not focus our eyes on earthly things, for these will all pass away. Rather, let us live up to what we have already attained in the spirit and live. We are all expected to mature in our faith and if there are differences in our levels of faith, we will all come to the right decisions where it matters most – the salvation of our soul. The Lord will give us the wisdom to know what is good and what is evil. Let us serve the Lord wholeheartedly and grow in our faith even more. Hallelujah!