However it is measured, daily progress is to be desired.
It is important to us to feel that we have advanced the cause of our lives, the purpose God has for us, and the dream or vision the Holy Spirit has given to us. At the beginning of the day we pray for advancement in these things. At the end of the day we look back, hoping to measure the advancement of the day. If we see progress, we can go to sleep dreaming of tomorrow’s tasks. If the day has been one of setbacks or frustrations, we worry ourselves to sleep searching our memories for unseen flaws of technique or hidden causes of the random nonsense that robbed the day of measurable progress.
Give it time.
Advancement isn’t always easy to judge. Many times what we need is a greater time reference than a single day. What may seem like a setback today may prove to be a necessary course correction in a few days. With time, frustrations can lead us to new understandings of the task we are attempting. Even people who we think have hindered our advancement may turn out to be friends not enemies, helpers, not hinderers.
To gain this more accurate perspective, we must pull the camera of our analysis of our work back to a wider view. It is possible that the energy we pour into worrying about an unproductive day may be wasted. Things can look completely different from a longer viewpoint. Tossing in bed and constant adjustment of our pillow can be relieved by reflecting on how the Lord Himself might judge the day just past.
Paul encourages us to ruminate, not on the possible setbacks of the day, but on the final victory in Christ that is guaranteed in the Covenantal Promises of God.
“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”
Remember the Promises.
As we meditate on the promises of God, the energies wasted on worry can be more profitably spent on
- praise in advance for what God has promised to do,
- thanksgiving for what God has already done,
- anticipation of what tomorrow may bring, and
- confidence in God to see us through.
Perhaps it is time to replace our hunger for advancement with a quiet confidence in faithfulness.
We cannot always sense advancement, but we can always be faithful. If we have been faithful, we have advanced the cause of Christ.
It may be that we have to look to the right or the left to judge our progress. This is useful, but all we need is a glance or two. Keep looking up
- to the vision,
- to the dream,
- to the prize, and most of all,
- to the Lord.
True advancement comes only from Him.
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Lord Jesus, I take a constant delight in You. As I do You shape the desires deep in my heart. I long for each day to be one of progress, ever higher, ever deeper, ever greater and all of this in Your will and love for me. Help this day to be one of advancement—advancement of Your splendid Kingdom. Help me move in Righteousness for Your cause does not advance through sloth or wickedness. Help me operate from a base of profound Peace with no anxiety in my mind or fear in my heart. Strengthen me with the Joy of the Holy Spirit which gives me Your power for the tasks before me. For Your Kingdom’s sake, Amen.
Words: Johnson Oatman; Music: Charles Gabriel
1. I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining everyday;
Still praying as I’m homeward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith on heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
2. My heart has no desire to stay Where doubts arise and fear dismay;
Though some may dwell were these about, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
3. I want to live above the world, Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has heard the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.
4. I want to scale the utmost height, and catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heaven I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved