“I press toward the mark…”
In our day and age in the Body of Christ there is very little sense of purpose; to be more precise there is little concept of what is the MARK in the Christian life. If there be no MARK presented to the people of God by the “ministry” how can there be any pursuit of the MARK clearly set forth in the Living Word of God? There can be no pressing into the things of God without a clear presentation of what those things are; it is like trying to run a race with no finish line. That would be absurd and yet it is exactly what so many seem to do. Once the “seekers” are “saved” the seeking tends to wane. Others will “feed” them and look after the “development” of their faith as long as they give their tithe and get involved with a few programs. How do “pressing toward the mark”, “reaching forth unto the things that lie before” and “counting the loss of ALL things as dung” in order to WIN Christ even fit into the “theology” of this present day? If there is no goal there is no pursuit. Wrong teaching produces wrong living.
The Greek word used here for MARK is σκοπός, (skopos), where we get the English word scope, best expressed as the scope of a rifle with a cross-hair in it for aiming at a specific target. Paul was not a theoretical or idealistic man; he was a man with a determined and specific purpose in his pursuit of the living God. All things were measured by this ONE THING. Everything else was made subservient to this one call and as a result he never swerved from the singular desire of his heart. Men who see little, pursue little. Only those who find the “Pearl” to be of great price will sacrifice all to purchase this unique and priceless treasure. What we are at this moment is the revelation of our vision. If we are comfortable and content with the status quo of our life in God, if we have settled for anything less than a life that is in full pursuit of HIS LIFE in us, then we have seen little. If there is not a cry within us to affect the lives of those around us and, more importantly, those we do not even know, we have seen but little. If there is a contentedness to remain independent and aloof from the lives of God’s people around us, if we are unmoved at the divorce rate, if we are not alarmed by the overwhelming dependence of God’s people for mood altering “medications”, if we are not burdened over the lack of HIS FIRE in our midst, if we have been meeting with the same people for years with little or no development in the expression of Christ in our lives or theirs, then we are most definitely in need of VISION and a true understanding of God’s purpose in the race.
There is a MARK to be aimed at by the people of God. In the Epistle to the Church at Philippi Paul was laying bare his heart regarding the attitude by which every one of God’s people was to be driven. Without HIS LOVE beating within our hearts there can be no pursuit. This pursuit is not birthed by a religious zeal for that will fail in the difficulty of the way. Self realization will fade in the recognition that there is no place in which the flesh can glory. It will cost us all that we hold dear. There will be no going back when once we truly see the MARK…HE who first loved us!
“Bad will be the day for every man
when he becomes absolutely content with the life that he is living,
with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing,
when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul
some great desire to do something larger,
which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is still,
in spite of all, the child of God.
PHILLIPS BROOKS (1835–1893)