Andrew Murray once said:
You will ask me, are you satisfied? Have you got all you want? God forbid. With the deepest feeling of my soul I can say that I am satisfied with Jesus now; but there is also the consciousness of how much fuller the revelation can be of the exceeding abundance of His grace. Let us never hesitate to say, “This is only the beginning.”
This is only the beginning.
How many times in the Christian life do we progress in our spiritual lives, grow in our intimacy with Jesus, find that we are doing “better” than nearly everyone else around us, and therefore get comfortable?
At first we are excited and passionate about pursuing Jesus Christ as we progress and deepen as Christians.
- Jesus is preeminent (first) in our lives
- We are willing to lay aside anything that would cause a distraction
- There is a satisfaction yet a deep yearning for more much like Andrew Murray said
However, in our pursuit to know Jesus better, grow in intimacy and oneness, and deepen in our understanding of the Word, we discover not all Christians live with such earnest desire for more. We feel uncomfortable as the only ones moving forward so we begin to settle in, slow down, and lose our focus and our desire for more. We look at the world and realize we are doing better than the rest of culture – so we pitch our tents and camp out one step further along than the people around us.
This is Only the Beginning
My friend Eric Ludy calls it “The Endless Frontier.”
As he tells it in his book When God Writes Your Life Story, Eric was taking vocal lessons from one of the best vocal coaches in the world who, for the first year of training, never gave him a compliment. So one day Eric got up the courage to ask how good he was. Scott, the vocal coach, replied:
“Eric, you played soccer growing up didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” I answered, not quite catching what this had to do with my singing talents.
“When did you start playing soccer?”
“I don’t know. I guess I was probably seven.”
“Think back to when you were seven years old and you had been playing soccer for one month. How good were you?”
“I stunk!” I answered without hesitation.
“Exactly!” Scott rang happily.
I stood there in stunned silence. Despair whirled inside my head. After a year of intense training, I still stunk? All my hard work had been for nothing?
But before my self-deflating was complete, Scott interjected a powerful piece of wisdom. “Eric,” he said earnestly, “there is something you need to understand. Singing is an endless frontier. It is a frontier that no one has reached the end of or fully explored. You have taken one step into this endless frontier, and you are asking me how far you have gone. Well, you’ve only taken one measly step!
“I want you to realize something,” Scott continued sincerely. “You have taken one step into the endless frontier of singing. And you are now one step further into this frontier than 99.9 percent of the human race. But don’t be satisfied with just one step. Don’t settle for just being above average. Never pitch your tent. Until you have explored the outer reaches of this endless frontier, never stop your pursuit of excellence!”
An endless frontier. That statement has forever changed Eric’s life. Not just with singing, but how he approaches every area of life: marriage, being a dad, and how he lives as a Christian.
The Tip of the Iceberg
In Ephesians 1.14, Paul says that the Holy Spirit is the “guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” The word “guarantee” is used three times throughout the New Testament and each time it refers to the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The idea behind “guarantee” is that of a downpayment. If I was going to purchase a house, they would require that I put down a downpayment – pay 10% now as a pledge or promise that I will pay the full amount.
In a similar manner, Paul says that Spirit has been given to us as a downpayment, a pledge of the fullness to come.
It is not that the Spirit of God is lacking or is only a piece of the whole, the emphasis that Paul makes here is that we are not at the end. There is more to come! This is merely the tippy top of the shaved ice on the top of the iceberg.
Pursuing the Endless Frontier
If I took you out to a road and told you that at the end of every mile there was a box filled with $1000 – how many miles would you be willing to walk? Would you stop after the first mile because you now had cash in your pocket? You’d be crazy.
I’d walk as far as I could, and then when I couldn’t possibly make it another step, I would use some of the money to rent a car and keep going!
Why is it in our Christian lives, we take one step forward, look around us and realize we are doing better than the rest of the world, and pitch our tents? We grow lax, get comfortable, become lethargic, and stop moving.
This is only the beginning, yet we assume we’ve found the end. Surely we’ve come as far as it is possible … right?
What would happen if you realized that the Christian life did not stop a couple steps beyond the culture but truly was an endless frontier? What if there was always more to be had? What if there were always more rich nuggets to be had in God’s Word? What if the Christian life only got better, more exciting, increasingly passion-filled, more fulfilling, deeper, richer, and satisfying the more we pressed down its endless corridors?
Why would you stop or slow down when there is more to be had?
I want to know Jesus better tomorrow than I know Him today. I want to be more in love with Jesus next year than I have ever been. I want my understanding and knowledge of Scripture to increase day-by-day. I don’t want to settle in, become comfortable, and lose passion – I long take yet another step into the endless Christian frontier.
Andrew Murray had it right – the life of Christ IS satisfying. But let us never hesitate to say, “This is only the beginning.”