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Living with Grace and Poise

In Philippians 3:3-12, Paul has just outlined what true righteousness and maturity *does* and *does not* look like. Yet in light of all that it is, Paul says “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead...” Looking at that phrase "I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it..." Paul is saying that after considering his life (mulling over who he is and what God has called him to be) and seeing how much more he had to go, Paul was totally sure that he had not even come close to the spiritual levels of which he speaks.

It takes spiritual eyes and spiritual maturity to know how much further we have to go in our growth in Christ. Two men who have taught me much about walking with the Lord, Ken Holladay and George Teichroeb, both used to frequently mention how much more they needed to grow in Christ--and yet, they were light-years ahead of me spiritually.

This reminds me about a recent conversation that I had with my daughter about ballet. She was lamenting that she her class (which, btw, has their recital today!) still had so much more they needed to improve. My response was that her saying this showed me something: that she was getting better. I explained, that in seeing how much more there was to go, what she demonstrated that she was beginning to understand true ballet skill/excellence, she understood what it looked like and what it took. Knowing what ballet excellence really required, she could see that her class had not reached that level. I reminded her that when she was taking ballet as a little girl, she had no idea what made for good ballet, she was just happy to dance around for a while. I was proud that she was growing as my little ballerina.

This totally corresponds to living for Christ. When we first start out, we think we’re doing great because we gave up drinking and smoking and now we come to church once a week. As we grow in Christ, we think we’re really doing fantastic because we come to church *twice* a week and read our Bibles every day! It’s only as we taste and see the purity and calling of God in our lives that we begin to sense just how much God is calling us to—not “much” in terms of activity (the immature misunderstand this) but much as in terms of “being” – being a person who is in fellowship with Christ moment-by-moment, not chasing after the things of this world, not ruled by the flesh, and rather living out what it means to be a citizen of His kingdom and a member of His family. This grace and poise comes as we are filled with the Holy Spirit and learn to walk in surrender to Him. While there certainly are “doing” aspects of being mature in Christ, the unskilled ballerina only knows to kick up her legs and prance around, whereas the mature dancer does so with grace, poise and excellence. May you live today for Christ with increasing maturity, maturity that produces grace, poise and excellence.

Love in Christ, Russ

P.S. Men, don’t get too hung up on my ballerina example, okay?
Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...