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TONY ELDER: We can all improve our skills as students of God

We should allseek to improve our skills as students of God

It wasn't referred to as a graduation. They called it a "Moving On Celebration." That seemed to be a fitting title for this class of fine young people as they came to the end of their school year. They were leaving behind one important stage in their journey and preparing to move forward to ... kindergarten. That's right. This particular ceremony which I was attending was for the pre-k class of one of my grandsons.

When you think about the many years of formal education ahead for that group of kids, they've got a lot of "moving on" yet to do. However, the same can be said for all who will be celebrating graduations this year.

For many leaving high school, they will be pursuing further studies at various universities and colleges. Others of them, along with those obtaining their college degrees, will begin receiving a different kind of education as they enter into their chosen fields of employment.

The truth is we should never stop moving forward in our education, whether in formal ways or in simply learning from our life experiences. I'm proud of my wife for recently adding another degree to her credentials, completing her courses with a 4.0 average. I'm currently on the final level in learning a language through the Rosetta Stone program. We all need to keep growing in knowledge and improving our skills throughout the years of our lives.

The same holds true in our journey with Christ. We should always be seeking to move on to the next level. Some of us may not be much more than newborn babies in the faith who need to learn those basic ABCs of following Jesus. Others of us may be battle-tested veterans who have traveled this way for many years.

But no matter what our current status, we all have greater heights to which to aspire.

There is always more that we can learn about God -- this infinite Being who is so far beyond us in His majesty, power, holiness and love. There is more that we can learn about the Bible, I don't care how long you may have preached or taught a Sunday School class.

And there is more that we can let the Lord teach us about ourselves, helping us set aside our rose-colored glasses we tend to wear when we look into our own hearts and instead enabling us to see ourselves more as He does.

We can also keep learning more of the skills to be successful in our walk with God. We may know what we ought to do, but we all could use some improvement in living up to that knowledge.

Do you really think your prayer life is as good as it can be? Aren't there ways we could better show God's love to those around us? Couldn't our lights shine even brighter in this dark world? We all have areas in our lives in which we need to keep experiencing spiritual growth.

Let's maintain the attitude of the Apostle Paul. He declared, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14).

As believers, let's stay committed to moving forward in our relationship with Christ. Let's keep growing, right up until the day we're called home to heaven. Then that occasion will truly be a "Moving On Celebration."

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.