How much can you grow? How much could you improve if you really worked at it?
Many of us think that our days of growth are behind us. We think we’ve mastered most of the things we can master. We think we’ve learned most of what we need to learn.
True, we might not say it, but that’s our operating assumption. We don’t think of ourselves as people who have a lot of growing to do.
I’m going to recount an embarrassing story that illustrates these points. Around 2012, I spent some time studying leadership principles. I enjoyed that study, and I learned a lot.
By 2014, I felt (this is the embarrassing part) that I had learned most of what I needed to learn from the leadership gurus. My learning was over in that area.
Earlier that year, I had reserved my spot at a satellite campus presentation of the Global Leadership Summit. By July, I was not excited about it because I felt that I wouldn’t learn that much from it.
Well, I was wrong. That year, I listened to Susan Cain talk about introverts and leadership and Joseph Grenny talk about how to have crucial conversations. Both of these talks (and later the books) introduced me to extremely important concepts that I’ve continued to incorporate into my life and ministry.
If you think about people who have mastered Christianity, the Apostle Paul is probably near the top of your list. But listen to what he said about knowing and experiencing Christ: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it” (Phil. 3:13). That’s why he had to press on toward the goal (see 3:13ff.).
That might be discouraging to you. Even someone like the Apostle Paul felt that he had a long way to go!
But there’s good news in that, too. One reason we get discouraged is that we think that our best days are behind us. We’ve done what we can do and grown as much as we can grow. Now, we have to just settle in for a long decline.
In this passage (Philippians 3), we have a different perspective. We have a lot of ways in which we can grow. So, our best days are ahead of us, not behind us.
This is especially true if we take the long view. This life is not the end. We are headed to eternal glory. We may even die, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:20–21).
Our best days are ahead of us.
This is true even in this life. God is still working with us. He is transforming us.
And He won’t stop. God is going to continue renewing us. He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion!
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
This process isn’t always easy. We often grow through suffering. The Lord conforms us to Christ’s suffering so that we can share in His glory.
But our best days are ahead of us. God has so much more in the present and the future than we could possibly believe. Let’s press on to attain what He has for us.