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  • Writer's picturePastor Nathan Lipscomb

Reaching for More

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

I have heard many times, that the youngest child gets treated differently than the other children. I was sure that this was not the case since I was the youngest in my family, however, my siblings would probably disagree. My youngest is nearing two years old, and somehow, he gets things out of me that the others do not. When he walks up to me, points at what I have, and signs "please", how can I say no to that sweet face? Within ten seconds, he's back for more, reaching his hand up high toward me, just so sure that I will fill it once more for him; and he will continue to do so until mommy cuts him off. Maybe part of the reason he is so successful is that he does not go and announce it to the others sending them all running and begging for some of whatever daddy is eating.

Praise the Lord that we have a Heavenly Father who does not mind when we all come running with our hands reaching out to Him pleading for more of the blessings that He has offered to us; needing more of the forgiveness extended to us; seeking more of the grace bestowed on us; hungering for more closeness in the relationship we share with Him.

#1 We reach for what has been offered to us.

I recently heard a sermon preached at a pastor's fellowship on Philippians 3:13-14,

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

These images of "forgetting", "reaching", and "pressing" are powerful images and that is why these passages are so often preached. Something the preacher said stuck out to me; he said that we only reach for something that has been offered. Eternal life was offered to me, forgiveness was offered, grace was offered, mercy was offered, strength was offered, power was offered. All of these and more were offered to me by God and none of them were deserved. In none of these cases was there a line drawn that I had to cross or a standard revealed that I had to live up to in order receive these graces. However, what is offered is not always what is sought after, and what we reach for is not always what is best.

#2 We reach for what we don't have.

As a pastor, father, and husband, I have many victories and losses behind me. I often only remember the losses so that I can wallow in them one more day; yet my pride likes to remind me of the victories so that I can glory in them just one more day. Whatever spiritual victories or losses lay behind me, scripturally, I know that what I need today is another victory over temptation and it's result- sin.

I know that I haven't achieved completion in any area of my life, except my salvation, and that wasn't even my doing, but Christ's. We cannot ever get to the point where we feel that Christ has "apprehended" us and that's good enough. Paul recognized that he was possessed by Jesus Christ, but was not content to let that be the end of his spiritual growth. He desired to lay hold on that which the Lord had laid hold on him! I can't even begin to enumerate the areas in which I am lacking. I see them when no one else does; but Christ apprehended me to make a new man out of me, to conform me to the image of His Son, to make me a witness and usable instrument for His glory! Can I not in return surrender to His will, seeking to see Christ's transforming work in me, and allowing His nature to be revealed through me? I came to Christ for a reason, because He had to offer what I did not have. Now I should want more!

#3 We reach for more of what we want.

Paul wasn't content with yesterday's victories, he wanted more! He wasn't anchored by yesterday's defeats; they didn't freeze him in fear and keep him from stepping out in faith once more to see what the Lord could do that day through a surrendered Paul! If the trophies and certificates on my wall remind me of anything, it should highlight what the Lord can continue to do through me if I just wanted more: more of His filling in my ministry, more of His vision for the people that He has placed around me, more disdain for the sin in my life, more earnest prayer for my church and family, and more hunger for communion and closeness with Him. Though, is that what we have been reaching for? Are those things what occupy our thoughts and desires? What is it that we are craving more of?

Maybe a reckoning is in order. Maybe we should take the time today to consider how we have been hording His time for ourselves. It is time to choose to reach ahead for the finish line that is the "high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

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