There is perhaps no better word for what the Christian disciple is called to than the small, but powerful word “try”.
Are circumstances good? That’s great. How are we going to steward ourselves in those circumstances? Are circumstances bad? That is cause for an expression of sadness. And the same question: how are we going to steward ourselves in that circumstance. Are circumstances boring, mundane, or so “normal” we take them for granted? What will we do in times like this? Who are we? What are we doing, and saying, and being?
Paul tells us to “press on”. In other words: keep trying.
All of us would love to have everything figured out. To be masters of our circumstances and perfectors of our attitude and actions. We want to understand so badly that we often refuse to move until we understand everything. It is just as dangerous as leaping forward with no understanding.
Human life is a weave of action and understanding. Experience and learning. We try and succeed. We try and we fail. We keep going. We keep trying.
The full manifestation for the prize we are pursuing is not found in this life. It transcends life on this earth. Which means it includes life as we know it but is not contained therein. We can participate in the prize but not fully receive it until we enter the gates of Heaven.
And so, we are called to try. To press on. To strain forward. To do our best, succeed, fail, and learn. Such is life in the Kingdom of God.
“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 4:12-14