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Pressing On (51 of 52)
Christopher B. Harbin
Biologists tell us the life and growth go hand in hand. Cells multiply. Plants develop roots, stems, and leaves. Eggs hatch. Babies grow and develop. If this process of growth with its accompanying changes stops, life itself ends. All throughout life we adapt, change, and respond to the environment all around us as a matter of course, even if there are certain elements of life we would like to freeze at some moment in time or at least slow down for a period. Life, however, calls us onward to new experiences and challenges, whether we like it or not. Hitting the pause button is just not an option.
As the biological world we inhabit responds constantly to change with growth and adaptation, so do our spiritual lives. God created the physical world we inhabit, after all. God created the physical aspect of our lives, and these same basic principles of growth, change, and adaptation apply to our spiritual selves just as much as to our physical nature. As much as we might like to simplify our lives, retaining the simple answers of yesteryear as sufficient to today's issues, life calls us forward to face challenges we might never have considered before.
Paul addresses some of this in his letter to the Philippian believers. He was writing in response to a legalistic influence on the church in Philippi. There was an understanding among many Jewish believers that after accepting Christ Jesus in faith one needed to adopt Jewish traditions concerning the Law of Moses on top of grace and faith. This was the heritage from which God had called and redeemed Paul. He had been that observant Jew in years past, but God had called him instead to accept the good news of Christ Jesus, giving his life over to wholly new concerns of faith, love, mercy, compassion, justice, and grace.
This Jewish legalism for Paul was a step backward in his faith development. He had come out of just such a ...
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