“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me..”Philippians 3:12
There is an urgency in the Christian life that supersedes everything else. It over reaches education, work, relationships, service, earthly pursuits – all are second to the need to know Christ and walk with Him. The pity for the Christian is that often, we don’t think so. At least we might agree in principal when pressed, but a person cannot realistically follow in the same way as the Saviour of the world.
The Apostle Paul spoke these words from a position of privilege in this world and in His religious society, but He counted it all rubbish compared to Christ. He realised his power was from the Holy Spirit and his authority to speak from the Word of God. His complete demeanour was humility and his whole life was on the altar of sacrifice to the glory of God. It is a wonder that such a man as he once was as a self-righteous and proud Pharisee, could be the spokesperson for God. Most of the New Testament was written by him and the teaching he has recorded for us is intense and challenging.
Christ took hold of Paul to rescue him from sin and punishment and to lift him up in the eternal kingdom as a bright light. Paul teaches us how to live our lives to please God and to teach others the way as well. Paul’s life was not his own and he could tell people to copy him, as he was copying Christ.
We can excuse ourselves by saying Jesus is God and it was easy for Him to walk this world… but the example of Paul, leaves us with no excuse. As Christ took hold of Paul to change and conquer his pride and selfishness, so it is the same for us. Every child of God is part of that eternal kingdom and has a personal life with God. The Saviour Jesus pursues and takes possession of those who are His people. He saves them and raises them to new life in Him. He forgives them when they repent and keeps their lives safe in His personal care.
The Christian takes hold of these same things, because they are valuable. To walk with Christ is an amazing privilege and a right given to every redeemed child of God. The Christian “presses on…” there is great effort and urgency about vehemently following Jesus everywhere He would go. The Christian presses on and on, right to the end- right to the shores of the last river until they are welcomed into the eternal city. There is no time off. What ever our situation, there are opportunities to show Christ and help others to believe in Him too. Our remit is huge and life-engulfing, so we need to constantly remind ourselves in the Scriptures, of what we are and who we serve.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 WEB
“And I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus, our Lord, because he counted me faithful, appointing me to service;” 1 Timothy 1:12 WEB
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another; not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; enduring in oppression; continuing steadfastly in prayer; Romans 12:9-12 WEB
Whatever we do is for the sake of Christ and whoever we interact with or are involved with, we are witnesses for Him. Self takes a back seat and we take hold of our Salvation and obey our Lord Jesus. The glory is ahead, laid up for us in the presence of God. This is our eternal rest. Meanwhile as we walk here in this life, we serve and we find that same rest, in Him…