Summary: With faith in Christ, believers forge ahead towards heaven regardless of what others might think.
“You must be out of your mind.” If you lived in Grand Isle, and chose not to evacuate for Hurricane Lili last week, I bet you would have heard those words. I could somewhat sympathize with the people who stayed behind. They didn’t want to leave their homes or livelihood.
The fact is that sometimes people act in unexpected ways. We could blame it on stress. We could blame it on circumstance, yet, whatever the cause; there are times when people say or do things that just don’t seem proper. It’s as if they are out of their minds.
The apostle Paul admits this is the case with believers in Christ. He gives two solid examples of how Christians just don’t act right, at least in the eyes of the world. Yet, St. Paul doesn’t apologize for this strange behavior. Instead, he urges every Christian to follow his example. That includes you and I. So, take the apostle Paul’s encouragement to heart and LIVE LIKE YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND. 1) Press On Towards the Goal, and 2) Look Forward to the Finish.
1) Press On Towards the Goal
Many people think Christians are out of their minds. After all, they place their hope in a man they’ve never seen – Jesus Christ. And they look forward to a home in a land they’ve never visited – heaven. It would seem we’re living in a fantasy world as if we put our hope in make-believe, a “Never-Never Land” for Christians.
The Apostle Paul had this to say about this place called heaven: “I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” To rephrase it, he’s saying, “I’ve got my eye on the goal. God is calling us onward to Jesus. I am off and running and I’m not turning back. Let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything that God has for us.”
Do you want everything God has in store for you? Do you want the joy, the peace, and significance that only God can provide? Paul says if you want everything that God has for you; focus on this goal, this place called heaven. And don’t worry what others might think or say. Trust in God to provide you with his “Never-Never Land.”
Paul pictures the Christian life as a race and he says heaven is like the ultimate finish line of life. What if I said, “I want you to run a race. I want you to run it well. I want you to do your best to win that race, but I’m not going to tell you where the finish line is.” That would be pretty difficult. Yet that’s the way a lot of us try to run the race of life. We don’t really know where the finish line is. If you don’t know where the finish line is, then you run about this life frantic and frustrated.
How are you running? Maybe you begin each day as a frantic race. You run as hard and as fast as you can because maybe you see your own personal goals as the finish line – getting a good job and career, starting a family, keeping up with the “Joneses” -- these are often our finish lines in life. We think that if we can save enough money for retirement, then the race will be won, or if we just maintain a nicer lifestyle than our friends or neighbors, well, then we’ve got it made.
Some of you may have run your life this way for years, chasing one goal after another, only to find you’re unhappy and unfulfilled. And now maybe you’re just worn out. You think, “I don’t know what I can do next. I don’t know if I can keep this up.” If we continue to chase after the things of this world, we will get tired and frustrated. But we don’t have to. You don’t have to live that way. That’s what the ultimate finish line of life in heaven does for us. It gives us something to look forward to.
We need finish lines. And the hope of heaven is the ultimate finish line. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. There’s nothing wrong with having goals about your family, your career, or your school. Just make sure those things don’t become the ultimate goals. The hope of heaven is our ultimate goal. All other goals are under that. Why? Because even if you reach those other goals – and most of us have – you realize it’s not enough. Even my greatest dream it’s not enough. We need a goal that is enough. And only the goal of heaven is enough to motivate us for a lifetime, to give us hope for a lifetime.