April 13, 2011

Have You Arrived?

"Not that I have already reached [the goal] or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus." - Philippians:3-12-14

As a Christ follower, we often try so hard to to the right things. Be like Christ, follow His example. Paul often compares the life of the Christ follower to a race. Keep your eye on the goal, run to win, finish strong. We want to do the right thing, but we often fail.

I've seen people who seem to think they've "arrived." They act like they have everything together, that they have somehow reached perfection. I've also met people who have a very real view of themselves. Much like Paul, they call themselves the chief of sinners.

Paul is one of my Bible heroes. He was a committed Christ follower, who endured more than most of us will ever come close to facing. He was persecuted, beaten, left for dead, yet he continued on in his faith. In fact, his faith got stronger each step of the way. But Paul was so humble. He was very careful to make sure his reader understood that he had not "arrived." He made every effort to take hold of the goal, but he certainly had not yet reached it.

I am convinced that the more you strive for the goal - the closer you get to Jesus Christ - the more you realize how far you have to go. A comfortable, easy going Christian may think they have reached the goal, or are very close. But a Christ follower who is all in, who has laid everything on the line and is truly striving to be like Christ - no matter what the cost - will realize that he (or she) is farther from the goal than ever.

Have you "arrived?" If you have then you better stop right now and reconsider. We are despicable sinners in God's sight. Only by the grace of God do we even stand a chance. We must forget what is behind and reach forward to what is ahead. Pursue as your goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

Yesterday we took Garren to an eye specialist. The issue has been his left eye. Because he is not able to close it completely, it tends to stay red and irritated. We have been trying to manage the redness using ointments, antibiotics, and and eye patch to keep it closed as much as possible. The eye doctor highly recommended a tarsorrhaphy, which involves suturing the two eyelids together in order to protect the surface of the eye from drying. It is an outpatient procedure. This is the second eye doctor to recommend this procedure. We were a little reluctant at first, but both doctors are confident that this is what is best for Garren. He said that the stitch could be in for up to 90 days. Without the procedure, blood vessels will begin to grow over his cornea as a way of protecting the eye from dryness. The problem is that this will cause impaired vision.

So we go Thursday afternoon to have the procedure done. He will receive a local anesthetic (just like what you get when you get a filling at the dentist), and the doctor will put one stitch in to hold the eyelids closed.

Pray for Garren as he (obviously) is a little nervous about the procedure. Pray also that the left side of his face will continue to strengthen so he can overcome this eye issue.


Anonymous said...

Strange how when progress seems to be going, there is a minor set-back...often these set backs are a method used by satan to discourge those under the set backs...however...
God is still in control...even with setbacks...praying for Garren eyes..praying that all involved will "see" the greatness of our God!! Be encouraged...love, Sandy & Russ

LaLisa Carpenter (Emma-Grace's mom) said...

We continue to pray for Garren from Levine's 6th floor. I pray the procedure goes well. Glad to hear Garren is making great progress.

Kitty @ Four Little Toms and a Mom said...

I can imagine the anxiety over the procedure without being able to move much and express himself. Our family will pray for him.

Kristi said...

Still praying!

Anonymous said...

We're standing with you & Garren in prayer as you face this surgical procedure tomorrow. In Rms. 4:21 it says"and being fully assured that what he had promised He was able also to perform" . . .standing in faith with you that God has a plan for Garren which was set in the mind of God before Garren was born . . .we can be assured that He will accomplish what concerns us for Garren . . He is able to do exceedingly more than we can ask or think ;-) Thank you Lord !
May you go forth in the strength & confidence of the Lord tomorrow. . .Love to you and your family, Chris & Rich C.

tammywingate said...

we will be praying for Garren and his left side of his face. We will pray that his anxiety is replaced with peace from above and that this totally repairs his eye!
Great message this am. I am so thankful that we serve a God of Grace and that He does not judge us, before He loves us!!
Hang in there Garren, you are doing GREAT!!<>< t