In today’s world we are bombarded by information and advertising on all sorts of things, including persuasive messages to spend money on this or that desirable thing. Little of this is helpful in leading us to greater spirituality: more often than not it will lead us in the opposite direction. Our thoughts ran along these lines as we read Paul’s words of thanksgiving and encouragement to the Philippians. Paul said, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:13 onwards).

It is impossible to forget the world! The difficulty to “press forward” has never been greater! “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained”. What have you attained?

What a challenge this world is for those just starting on the pathway to heavenly citizenship. Paul laments about those whose “minds are set on earthly things” (verse 19). His next words are powerful, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body …” Politicians are clamouring with ‘puffery’ words to get us to vote for them, but we have the only true citizenship – and just one candidate – and we wait for him to take his power and reign. Let us fix our eyes on him as “the sea and the waves” of the 21st Century foam and roar and there is “distress of nations in perplexity” (Luke 21:25)

With Christ in the vessel we smile at the storm! But what of those who are not mature? Let us take some words from 1 Thessalonians 5, “ … the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night … let us keep awake … we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith … encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all …pray without ceasing … may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it”. Those “who are mature” today have a great responsibility.