It’s Too Soon to Stop
Three days before reaching the New World, the crew begged him to turn back, fearing if they went farther they couldn’t catch enough wind to return to Spain before running out of food and water. But Christopher Columbus had one word for his faltering men: Adelante! Adelante! — Onward! Onward!
As I think of those words by Christopher Columbus, my mind immediately thinks of the Apostle Paul’s words, “I press on” in Philippians 3:12-14: “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.”
Christians should also live lives of dogged pursuit of our heavenly country (Hebrews 11:6) and the treasures that are laid up for us in Christ (Colossians 2:3), which are found in God’s Word.
But too many stop short. We’re like guests in an immense palace who have keys to every room, but venture no farther than the entrance hall.
Has your Christian life become stale and stagnant? How about the work of counseling that God has called you to? Do you struggle with the work and labor of doing yet another counseling session? Has the passion to press onward started to die down? How do you rediscover and reignite those passions?
If this is true of you, or true of those you are counseling, I’d like to suggest a few things.
Make It Your Aim to Discover New Things in the Word
One of the ways to reignite your passion is to hunger for more. Not more in the sense of something beyond God’s Word, but more like what the Psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your Law” (Psalm 119:18). Could there be more insights in familiar passages still waiting to be uncovered? Could God give you fresh and stirring insights into the passages you so quickly reference in counseling?
It has been said, “The Bible is simple enough that a child can understand it; and deep enough that a scholar can drown in it.” But whether we are talking about the simple or profound truths of Scripture, we always need God to open our spiritual eyes to grasp what it says. Our understanding of its message and its application to our lives should be a process of daily discovery as if we are exploring a new world. I think someone said it best when Bible students were described as “wide-eyed travelers in the midst of wonders.”
Have you learned something new in the Bible this week? Have you asked the Spirit to open your eyes wide so you can behold the wonder of God’s Word? Are you on a journey to explore new and hidden treasures in God’s Word? If not, does that mean you have settled down and are comfortable with the truths you already know?
See If You Can Discover Any New Spiritual Lessons
When we have trouble with a loved one, a bad report from the doctor, a crisis at work, or a wayward church member, God usually enlarges our hearts, by showing us new dimensions of His faithfulness and teaching us new lessons about our walk of faith. Those challenges, along the journey toward our heavenly country and those eternal riches in Christ, are designed to help us discover truths we would have never seen before.
God is infinite. His wisdom is limitless, and we don’t grow up in Christ in a day. His ways are deep and wonderful, and it takes years of prayerful experience to search them out. We should be making more discoveries and discovering new mercies every day.
So, what new lessons has God been teaching you today? This week? If you can’t think of any, then it is time to look for them.
Discover New Ways of Serving Him
Some time ago I ran across a story that challenged me. It was the story about a man who continued to press on in his journey of serving Christ. Dr. Charles McCoy was a pastor with seven degrees. His church expected him to retire at 72 and move into a retirement home.
But Dr. McCoy was an explorer at heart. He retired to India. His friends said, “You might die in India.” “It’s just as close to heaven from there as it is from here,” he replied.
He shared Christ with political leaders, educational institutions, and large crowds. He planted churches in Calcutta and Hong Kong. At age 86, he died. A friend said, “He had come to the end of his great adventure. He was as close to heaven as if he had never left New York. He had been faithful.”
Maybe you are feeling like Christopher Columbus. You might be surrounded by people who are telling you it is time to stop or turn back. It’s possible that there are fears and uncertainties that are swirling all around you. But, rather than give up, turn back, and miss an amazing discovery like Christopher Columbus found, maybe it is time for you to press on and consider what new opportunities God has waiting for you in ministry.
Join the Conversation
So, how can these simple reminders help you in your personal life and ministry as a biblical counselor? How has God encouraged you, or those you counsel, to press onward? I’d love to hear how you’ve kept your soul encouraged in the journey.