Wednesday, September 5

Pressing onward

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" Philippians 3:12-14(NIV)

Yesterday, while in the cafe line at work, the cashier (a fellow Christian) was talking to another Christian and the gentleman made the comment, "It was Philippians 3. It was awesome." Of course, that prompted me and the cashier to grab paper to write the reference down to look up later.

The NIV has two definitive sections for this chapter of Paul's letter to Philippi. One is "No confidence in the flesh" which covers verses 1-11 and then "Pressing on toward the Goal" which starts at verse 12 and continues to the end of the chapter at verse 21. With the battles and storm fronts that have raged across the landscape of my life recently, the verses 12-14 seem to call out to me in particular.

The commentary has this section referenced as "The Christian life is like a race; elsewhere Paul uses athletic imagery in a similar way. Paul's goal is Christ's goal for him, and Christ supplies the resources for him to 'press on toward the goal.' Not forgetting his sinful past, but leaving it behind him as done with and settled."

This seems to me to be 'the story' of the Christian life; to strive towards the perfection of Christ, knowing we will not attain it nor have we yet. But, as Christ has purposed each of us, that we should seek, constantly striving towards the goal which was selected for us, for which we were designed.

Not forgetting where we have been , the dark valleys and the swampy bogs, but rather remembering so that we can utilize that knowledge to empower and 'save' another from those same pitfalls. Reaching back to help those who are behind us, but looking ahead to where we are going.

And, doing so in the knowledge that God has cast the sinful mistakes of our past behind Him never to be remembered again.

But this verse has additional meaning to me as a friend told me of a calling and I know that he is in pursuit of 'that which Christ Jesus took hold' of him.

This is a mentor, a brother, and a friend who has stood in the gap and tested the steeliness of the sword with me. This is a warrior who stands, like the 300 Spartans, with locked shield and sword against the Enemy.

No greater honor can I know than to have stood in this place with this brother. "Towards the goal which Christ Jesus has taken hold of us for" is not just a destination we both endeavour to attain but a journey we both enjoy pursuing.

"With fearful trembling, so go I."


No comments: