A Word for the Year

A Word for the Year from Dr. Jamila Jackson

Stretching Toward the Goal!

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14 NIV

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Philippians 3:12-14 NLT

The book of Philippians was written by the apostle Paul from a prison in Rome! Paul is sitting in a prison saying that he has not accomplished all that there is to accomplish. He has much much more to do! In spite of being locked up and alone, his mind is on accomplishing the goal. Whatever the Lord sent him here to do, he was going to STRETCH with all of his might to do it.

You are not in a prison. You are on a college campus! You are in classrooms learning from knowledgeable professors. You are in lunchrooms surrounded by people who want to stretch forward to accomplish their dreams as well. You may be in a home where you have a support system or in a dorm where you can build a new support system. You have an advantage over Paul. God has truly placed you strategically. You can accomplish the goal that you were created to accomplish!

So, the question is… are you STRETCHING FORTH? Think about what it means to stretch forth. It means to come out of your comfortable place and extend yourself. It means to do more than you have done before. It means to get out of your comfort zone academically, socially, and spiritually! Like Paul, there is so much that you have not yet achieved. Like Paul, you have to press forward, and you have to stretch to accomplish it.

The truth of the matter is that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). That is the only reason Paul was able to sit in a prison and dream of the future. It is the only way that he was able to endure the hard stuff that came his way. That is the only way that he was able to achieve his goals. It was because he kept his eyes on Jesus Christ. That, my friends, is also your secret sauce.

This school year, what if you opened your eyes to Jesus Christ? Why don’t you just see where a closer relationship with God will take you? Just give it a try. Make one small attempt to connect with the Lord more this school year. Maybe that will mean joining us for Sunday worship at 1pm in the chapel, or maybe that will mean coming across the street on Thursdays at 5pm for Bible study. Maybe you may even want to join the outside prayer time on Fridays. If you are a part of another faith community, maybe you will show up to a gathering or engage in deeper commitment. Whatever you decide to do, know that it will be one of the keys to stretching forth to become all that God created you to be. We promise you, it will make a great difference. And we promise you, we will support you as you go deeper in the Lord. It will be a decision that you will not regret.

We are praying for you as you STRETCH this year!