“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
“Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” – Philippians 3:12-16.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21.
Anyone who has ever been on a road trip during vacation, either with children or as a child themselves will be able to relate to what I am about to say. You already know that life is a journey; it is a road we travel, whether willingly or not, we are all on that road and our Heavenly Father has destined each of His creation to journey on that road.
As Christians, students and disciples of Christ Jesus, we know that our Lord is in the driver seat. This is not necessarily so with those who have not accepted His Lordship. To us, however, He is the Ultimate Parent, our Heavenly Father and we have surrendered our lives to His driving, if we are truly Christians. This is what makes us so different, spiritually, as opposed to religiously, with the rest of the world. We KNOW Who is in the driver’s seat!
When we embark on this journey, it is as if we are on a vacation to an exciting destination and the anticipation and awe can be overwhelming. Just like children on a road-trip, we are excited by all the sites and sounds, the different locales that we pass by, for everything is fresh and new to us. It was just a few months before my 17th birthday when I embarked on this wondrous “road-trip” and the excitement in my life was palpable. The girl who is my wife now was there and she can remember how I was. It was her brother whom the Holy Spirit used to open my eyes to this new and wondrous life. However, this is not a recollection of my life, but rather an observation on how we ALL have felt when we first start out on our new spiritual journey!
Any parent can relate to this excitement. How the children are keen-eyed and struck by all the things that they don’t necessarily get to see in their everyday lives. That excitement, depending on the person can last a while depending on their personality and the perceived awesomeness of the new situation.
But like many natural road-trips, as the time marches on and the miles go by, soon the surroundings start to take on a routine familiarity. The newness starts to wear as tiredness and even boredom with the sameness starts to sink in. We’ve all seen it and to a degree we have all experienced it.
No matter the road you travel, and I personally have traveled all over the U.S. and the lower Provinces of Canada, and I can attest to the fact that sooner or later, all the roads and highways seem to appear the same with very few exceptions. This is usually when the drive, the journey itself, becomes rather routine and mundane and to a child, when the excitement starts to wear off, boredom sets in.
This is when that familiar phrase, a question really wrapped in a disguise, starts to rear its head to most parents; “Are we there yet?”
Now about this time, I can just imagine the smiles popping up on your face as you read this for you all know just how true this is! As a parent, we all KNOW that sooner or later, this question is going to break forth. It’s just a guessing game as to how long it will take for the children to ask it. But you as a parent KNOW it is coming, sooner or later!
Now in the natural, a wise parent will have things prepared to occupy the time of your children when that boredom of the surroundings does kick in. It could be books, coloring, etc., though now days with the technology, it could be movies or games played with onboard monitors facing the back seats.
Keep them occupied until you arrive is the goal of any and every parent on an extended road-trip. Well-meaning assurances of “We’ll be there soon,” help for a time. Inevitably the question will come forth from the children again, “Are we there yet?”
Some parents know that the real question or comment lies just below the veil of that thinly disguised question. “I’m bored,” or, “I’m tired of the same old thing,” are the real statements behind the simple question. So it is with us spiritually. Think about it, don’t just take my word for it. How many times have you stated to our Heavenly Father, “Are we there yet?” When in actuality the real statement on your heart is “I’m bored,” or, “I’m tired,” or even still, “I want something exciting to do.”
Yet with an inordinate amount of patience and love, our Lord and Father will speak to our hearts, “It’ll be soon, but just keep busy with what I’ve given you until then.”
A lot of times, that’s when the idea of leaving our comfort and familiar surroundings behind start to flood our minds. We soon start to dwell on what we have left behind rather than the excitement of the destination that so recently held our focus. Many times, this is when the enemy of our souls tries to gain a foothold. His favorite tool is doubt and/or regrets. You see, all of us on this spiritual road-trip have a past. That is in actuality what we have been saved from.
Consider this when you read the Scriptures above penned by the Apostle Paul. Paul was complicit with no less than the murder of many Christians. If the past weighed heavy on anyone, it had to have been the Apostle Paul. Yet, through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, not to mention His Grace and Mercy, Paul penned those famous and often used verses to encourage others on their journey through life, to ever look forward and NOT dwell on the past, or in other words, where they had been! Because the journey itself MAY be long (not always, necessarily), it is important to keep our heart AND mind (our spirit) focused on the prize, the real destination!
We truly do HAVE things prepared for us to occupy our time productively until we arrive at our true and ultimate destination. The Lord has promised to give us gifts, things to accomplish, but also the ability or equipping to use those gifts He has given us. In the natural, it wouldn’t be very wise or productive to take along a stack of coloring books for your children and not supply them with the colored pencils or crayons with which to be able to draw. So it is with our Lord with each of us, His children on our “road-trip.”
When you think of it on a spiritual basis, when the sites around us lose their appeal and excitement, when the road on this pilgrimage seems to become “stale” and common-place, isn’t that when we are able to fully appreciate the “gifts” given to us and start to use what the Father has given to us to occupy until we arrive at our destination? As long as the world around us holds excitement and awe, we aren’t even a bit interested in the “gifts” our parent has prepared for us for the journey. We are too enamored with the sights and sounds of the world going by around us.
Spiritually speaking, there is nothing wrong with us asking the Lord, “Are we there yet?” when it is an indication of our “boredom” with the world and the things of the world. It can show that we truly ARE looking forward to our ultimate arrival at our TRUE Home, the Heavenly Kingdom with our Father. When we can arrive at the point in our journey where we are “tired” of the world and all of its trappings, when the world and its temptations no longer hold sway or excitement in our lives, then we can truly begin to occupy our journey with the things the Father has prepared for us to do.
The thing is, as a child of the Lord’s, we may not know just how long our journey is to be, but when we have come to the point in our lives when we can truly TRUST and KNOW that the Lord is the One in control, the questioning of “Are we there yet?” can be one of excitement that we are getting close to the destination rather than just “boredom” with our surroundings.
I know that as long as the Lord has a plan to use each and every one of us in our individual capacity, that the journey will continue until the appropriate time of our arrival Home. The difference between our Heavenly Father and our natural parents is that He will always understand the yearning and excitement we develop as we get closer to our ETERNAL destination!