Oliver Cromwell said, “He who stops being better stops being good.” It is worth noting that a life worth living will be an uphill pursuit. For no one coasts through life who wishes to leave the world a better place.
While the life of the apostle Paul was marked by incredible accomplishments, he was always in pursuit of becoming a better person. As Christians, our definition of “better” is “Christ.” Paul could have boasted in the persecutions he had endured for the sake of the gospel. He could have gloried in the number of souls he had won to the Savior or the number of churches he had planted around the world. He could have. But he did not. The same cause which produced such untiring effort in the proclamation of the gospel, also kept him from indulging in self-glory. His life was marked by reaching forward and striving to be more and more like the Master who bought him. In his letter to the Philippian brethren, we hear him say, “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus, Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
A Christian has but one purpose, motivation, and goal for life and eternity. In a word, that purpose, motivation, and goal is “Jesus.” Our longing for spiritual growth must lead us in the direction of becoming as close to and as much like Jesus as possible in thought, word, and deed. When such is our pursuit, the hope of a home in heaven with Him becomes a powerful force deterring evil and promoting good in our daily lives.
Paul writes, “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
Make Christ your hope and pursuit in life. Strive to be more life Him in specific ways each day. It will be an uphill struggle. Becoming like Jesus is a goal we never fully attain; but we are made better in the pursuit.