Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, 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, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. 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 obtained. Philippians 3:12-16
A book I read recently stated that “getting good” at any complicated task takes about 10,000 hours of practice. Now this author wasn’t speaking about the living the Christian life, but I imagine it still applies. So if you want to “get good” at being a Christian, simply sitting in the pew won’t cut it. At the rate of one hour per week, “getting good” will take approximately 192 years! In case you haven’t noticed, none of us have that long! To really mature as a Christian, we need to put in the hours –hours of prayer, Bible study, service and more.
This is exactly what the Fanning the Flame process is teaching us. As a team, we are learning to be more disciplined in our prayer life; to discover and use our spiritual gifts; to repent of our sins; to remember God’s promises; to study His Word; to fellowship with one another, and so on. Hopefully, as we mature in our faith, we will influence others within the congregation to do the same. We’ll be stronger, better witnesses.
Will we ever achieve complete sanctification? Lutherans don’t think so. However, like Paul, we need to press on and do what is in our power to become worthy followers of the gift we have already been given. Christ died for our sins so that we could be reconciled with God and live with Him in eternity. Is it enough to plunk ourselves down in the sanctuary once a week, sing a few hymns and drop a few dollars in the offering plate? Is this a show of true gratitude, or is it just a pious habit we’ve developed over the years? We can’t stand still in the life of faith, we have to practice. We have to get good.