After the very successful completion of the 2011 Mexico Mission Trip, the question - like the refrain in Guns-N-Roses famous song asks - where do we go from here? Are we going to run around aimlessly, screaming hopelessly like Axle Rose on stage, or are we going to focus with laser-like accuracy on a new goal and mission? Once a desired destination has been reached, what comes next on the agenda? Is it time to retreat back to the "old way" of life now that a mission has been accomplished or should the completion of a recent mission spark a new desire and attitude to catapult oneself to a deeper and more dedicated level of commitment to Jesus Christ? Does an attitude of "been there and done that" now dominate the spiritual walk of a believer and render that individual complacent and ineffective or does an attitude of "I want more of His life" motivate us anew toward serving and expanding the kingdom of God in our communities?
Every coach in the sports world understands a very real, scary, and understandable fact - success many times breeds complacency! This is terrifying to a coach because once his team drinks from the cup of success, it is a very difficult thing to motivate his team for the challenge of another championship run . A coach's job "security" is based upon attaining "success," and a championship trophy is the telltale measure of that goal in the sports world. Players soon believe in themselves that there is no need for improvement or harder work for the upcoming season. The achievement of a previous goal can undermine new accomplishments and goals. During the off season, they begin to forget the "little" things that got them the championship in the first place and stray from their training and dedication to the attaining of a second goal. Critical self-evaluation and hard work are replaced with slothfulness and deceitful self adulation! When the team reassembles for the start of a new season, coaches realize that their job has just gotten a lot harder because their influence with the players has diminished. "Knowing better than the coach," "questioning his decisions," or "coasting" in preparation for the upcoming season and games are attitudes that begin to surface, corrode, and affect a team's performance. Many teams go from World Champions one year to "a bunch of bums" in just one years time!
Other teams, however, are able to overcome those attitudes and temptations to empower themselves and embrace challenges for greater things in their future. Having tasted from the "golden cup," an insatiable drive consumes them to "repeat" or "three-peat" their success! Ascending higher than other teams before them now becomes the ultimate goal and nothing will stand in their way until it is accomplished! A new and invigorated desire consumes them in their pursuit of another championship, and God help whomever or whatever gets in their way!
Philippians 3:12-14 says:
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.
When we keep our eyes and hearts focused on the ultimate goal of loving and serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will not run aimlessly or without purpose in our spiritual life like Axle Rose's theatrics on stage. We will not rest on past accomplishments, experiences, and victories, but rather we will run with perseverance the race set out before us. And Axle, sweet child of mine, in answer to your song's repetitious question, we Christians definitely know where we are going from here! It's from victory to victory in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!
Stay Holy My Friends!
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Readers - I'd love to hear your comments! - Pastor Don