Doing Good Things Better
Warren E. Berkley
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 3:12-14, ESV).
This article is not about exposing sin, demanding you renounce some wickedness, quit lying or stealing. While those guilty of these misbehaviors need to repent and be forgiven, this kind of thing is not the subject of this article. This article is about pressing on and straining forward to start doing good things better.
Can you pray better? Not just longer prayers, though that might be part of the progress you need to make. Consider giving more thought in framing your prayers or expanding who and what you pray for. Initiate petitions that honor Christ, praise God, and advance the proclamation of the gospel. But also, pray for people you don’t agree with and don’t like. You’ve been engaged in prayer for many years. Now find ways to do that better. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Can your prayers become more effective and fervent?
Can your attendance be improved? Can you give up some of the weak excuses, gain better control of your schedule, re-think your priorities and improve your attendance? By attending every service you enjoy the advantages of edification and the encouragement you lend to others and receive from them. Christians in the early church were together and that unity was critical to their survival and their capacity to share the gospel with others. “All who believed were together,” (Acts 2:44).
Can you reach out to people in a better way? Are there people you know who need you to move closer to them, get to know them and help them? For most of us, I believe, there are people we are acquainted with who need something we can give. But we have not taken the time. We have been too busy with so many of “our things.” I speak not of money primarily, but of encouragement, listening, praying with, studying with and befriending.
Can you help someone begin reading the Bible? Make a list of 5 people you know. Are all five of those people reading the Bible? Pick out one and ask if they read the Bible daily? If not, offer to show them and help them get started (do that without being critical). Periodically review or re-make your list. There is no better endeavor you can invite someone to begin. All many people need is a little encouragement.
Again, this article was not written to the idolater, the liars or false teachers. Rather, to Christians who are doing good things already. I believe we can do these things better. Let’s press on toward the goal.