I am very much a person of routine. I am most comfortable when everything stays the same. I like the status quo.
The status quo is often viewed as a negative thing, but surely there are occasions when the status quo is actually a good thing. For example, a sports team on a winning streak does not tinker with their lineup, they do not alter their strategy—they preserve the status quo because that’s what got them on the winning streak in the first place.
As much as I enjoy the status quo at times, I must admit that, as I read the New Testament, I see a constant push to go beyond the status quo.
On Sunday January 17, at St. Giles Kingsway and The Well, I began a message series based on the apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians (The audio of the January 17 message is found at the end of this post). Almost from the outset of this letter I see Paul urging the Colossians to press forward. As he does this my attention is arrested by the fact that, for the Colossians, the status quo is a good thing. Paul notes that they have “faith in Christ” and commends them for “the love (they) have for all the saints” (Colossians 1:4).
In the case of the Colossians, the status quo is immensely positive. And yet, Paul sees room for growth. He sees areas in which the Colossians still need to mature and progress. Accordingly, Paul exhorts the Colossians beyond the status quo toward what they still need.
I’m challenged by that. I want to stay in my routine. I want to pause and enjoy all that the Lord has done for me and in me. But then I hear Paul saying, ‘God’s not done with you yet. You’re not yet at the finish line. You’re not sufficiently Christ-like. Keep going. Press on.’
Paul goes on to tell the Colossians what they need in 1:9—he’s praying for God to fill them with the knowledge of His will. But that’s not the end game. That’s not the destination. The destination is revealed in verse 10:
We pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way.
What we need is a comprehensive knowledge of God and His ways because it increases our capacity to “please God in every way”.
I desperately want this. I want to be in a place where the orientation of my life is focused on pleasing God. I want His deal to trump my deal. I recognize that this is what I was created for—it’s what I was redeemed for. I realize that, in order to get to this destination—in order to grow—I need to say good-bye to the status quo.