“For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” 1 Tim. 3:13

The Christian life is one progressive whole. The more we advance spiritually in our spiritual growth the more we taste of his sweetness. Even the pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress experienced different degrees of eternity. Our labor is not in vain nor is our walk without fruit. Christ came to give us life and that more abundant. “Whatever our advancement in virtue, we procure a proportionable accession of future happiness.” King James Translator

Whether we are considered a deacon or not, Paul is addressing the body of Christ with a message that when we give ourselves to the body we obtain for ourselves “a good degree”. The word here used (βαθμός bathmos) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, “a step,” as of a stair; meaning is that of going up higher, or taking an additional step of dignity, honor, or standing. Either an advance in office, in dignity, in respectability, or in influence. It is a subordinate office, “with a view” of an ascent to a higher grade.

Jonathan Edwards said, “Labor to be much acquainted with heaven. — If you are not acquainted with it, you will not be likely to spend your life as a journey thither. You will not be sensible of its worth, nor will you long for it. Unless you are much conversant in your mind with a better good, it will be exceeding difficult to you to have your hearts loosed from these things, to use them only in subordination to something else, and be ready to part with them for the sake of that better good. — Labor therefore to obtain a realizing sense of a heavenly world, to get a firm belief of its reality, and to be very much conversant with it in your thoughts.”

The steps you progressively take give you a heavenly view. We secure new footholds to further our purpose when we advance. Every conquest over apathy, self absorption, and earthly matters can be regarded as positive because we are putting on new strength and courage for the life of God. The more we discover “the divine life” the more we have a go with it. Each step in the ascent of the spiritual life is won by the patience of love and each stage is the promise of the next. Meaning we need not ever tire of the great adventure! We can walk into a ever clearer light, ever deepening vision which invigorates us with increased strength of purpose.

It is interesting to note that Paul is not so much interested with the rest within the divine life but he wanted to MOVE within the divine life! He discovered the fresh call given to him and ran his race! The Psalms of ascents or degrees were written when the levites ascended the steps to the temple in worship.2021 is not a year to pull back but to press forward. We cannot shrink back. Let’s press on toward the Upward calling….every fresh call to duty and service is step toward the heavenly realm!