We LOVE those sunset hours, especially the ones that give us a glorious show with a variety of colors – pink, orange, yellow, blue. Personally, I love the sunsets that have a touch of pink on the clouds, it gives it such a cozy feel.
Sunsets may bring up so many different emotions. Sometimes it gives us the feeling of hope, or sadness, or nostalgia, or deep thoughts, or a remembrance of a certain moment. It’s as if time freezes just for a split second and our minds can go all over the place. For a moment, everything might seem just right. Or wrong.
One thing is for sure, when the sun goes down, it will come up with a new display tomorrow. And we might even forget about the one the day before. It was just a sunset, after all. There will be one again.
It’s so easy to forget all the little details we observed – the clouds, the sun rays, the colors. What’s the point of dwelling on it? It’s gone and won’t come back.
And all those good experiences we’ve made are gone too. Yet it seems like, unlike the sunset, we can remember every single detail. Like the colors, we have those memories that are colorful, exciting, fun.
You might have experienced a fulfilling walk with God before you were married and wish those days to be back.
Or a successful career that is constantly boasting to you.
Or all the times you went on missionary trips, participated in church events.
They were fun, exciting, you did good.
And all those colorful moments, we might bring up from time to time, boasting about them and showing others how super spiritual you are.
Let’s take an example of a success you experienced – you landed that job you worked your butt of for through med school, college, master studies, interviews. Now you display to others how much you’ve accomplished.
Or all the worship practices you’ve been to, playing that guitar, worshiping God in front of all those people. And singing that song so emotionally that it made people cry, getting compliments afterwards.
Or you read the whole Bible, start to finish every year, yet get zero revelations. But at least you read all of it and can tell everyone around that you know your stuff.
The successes that we’ve made from the past is poop, Paul says. Like the colorful sunsets, they were only colorful for a moment and they vanished just like that.
But for some reason, we still bring them to tomorrow.
Don’t be the dog that returns to its vomit. Let’s stop going back to that foolishness, even if it’s tasty. (Prov 26:11)
Why you gotta be so negative? You say.
I’m not. I’m explaining how shallow all of it is – we have a much higher calling.
Let’s look at Paul’s life that he describes in Phillippians 3. He was the top dog, the best of the best. That degree is nothing compared to what he did. He knew his stuff inside out. He lived his life righteously according to the law and to his studies. He was considered absolutely perfect. Relating to our times, he probably would’ve been Dr. Paul.
And he said himself that he has every reason to brag about it, maybe even to have some kind of title in his name. But you know what he calls it?
And he continues to say that all those things he accomplished he considers it a waste. It is a loss to him for the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. He regards every success he had as dead. Because he knows that if he will dwell in it, brag about it, he might never understand the power of resurrection that he has in Jesus, that is the epitome of excellence. Far above all what the world considers perfection.
So Paul says he forgets what is behind him and presses towards the high calling of God, to seek that righteousness in Jesus rather than what rank he can get in this world, which is nothing but poop compared to what is in Jesus Christ. He earnestly desires to be found in Jesus, not after his own works, but in His righteousness.
And he admonishes us, if we are mature enough (NIV translation), to follow his example and those that are there. In other words, he is saying stop being such babies!
Find those people and mark them as examples to follow. Because those who do the opposite – self-righteousness – will eventually be led to destruction, shame, and are enemies of God.
Those people that keep talking and bring up the colors of yesterday’s sunset, eventually will never see the beauty of the next one.
If we keep talking about what we accomplished so far in life, we can never walk in God’s righteousness. What we can do and did is poop. It gets in the way of God’s vision in our life, we only see on the outside, not Who is inside of us.
The higher calling is to die to yourself every day and walk in His righteousness. To know Him, the artist of the sunset. He will show us much brighter, more beautiful colors – He created them.
He is in you. You are one.
So analyze our life. If we find ourselves in a situation where we feel like we did so much in life, forget it. We did nothing. The past is dead.
Find yourself in Jesus right now. You are living in the NOW. And NOW you are reconciled back to God. NOW you are presented as holy, blameless, not condemned. NOW you are forgiven of everything. NOW you are pressing toward the higher calling in God.
We don’t have to have it all together. Our house might be a mess, our children might always be crying, our financial state may be struggling. You don’t have to be perfect to be reconciled back to God. He did it for you, receive it.
Let everything that you did so far just be information to you. Nothing more. Every day, wake up and declare that today, you are going after God’s higher calling. In every situation, you will acknowledge God and He will direct your path. Ask God to show you who you are in Christ – that is the higher calling.
When we know who we are in Christ, we know where to go and what to do. So we don’t need to strive to accomplish anything! God already did, and we walk in it!
Let the sun go down and enjoy the pretty colors, but remember that they will vanish in seconds. So don’t glory in them. Instead, be joyful and glory in Him Who is in you, eternally.
Before you make any decision in life, small or big, say this: “I acknowledge Your way in this, and You will direct my path” Ps 3:6.
Press towards that higher calling, it’s in you!