Pressing On; December 31, 2020

Philippians 3:12 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.

What an appropriate passage for any landmark, milestone event! This is the last day on the calendar, but that hasn’t affected the rotation of the earth in the slightest, nor its journey around the sun. We tend to want to “rest on our laurels” any time we achieve something, even if it’s as simple as surviving another year. Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, New Years, all of those tend to come into this category. However, we need to have the attitude Paul expresses here, and if we don’t yet, verse 15 is addressed to us. The point is that we aren’t through until we are “home” with our Creator and Lord. Many years ago B. J. Thomas had a song, Home Where I Belong, that expressed this beautifully. Sadly, he himself wasn’t mentored properly, and as far as I know, abandoned the faith. That is a tragedy that none of us need to fall into, but we need to maintain the attitude expressed in this verse. For once, I really like the way the NIV expresses it here: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” So long as we think it depends solely on us, we will burn out in no time. However, if we are passive and fail to submit our will to our Lord Jesus, that is unproductive too. The power comes from Him, but our active participation is called for. Anything less deprives us of the fullness of the blessings He intends for us.

This is something I am still growing into, just as Paul was. I can look back and see major growth and improvement in my life, but an honest evaluation of myself right now reveals many weaknesses that hinder in various ways. Too often I am neither instantly nor totally responsive to my Lord, and that’s nothing to be proud of. I need to rest, relax, and rejoice in the assurance that He has taken hold of me, just as Paul says here, and at the same time apply myself fully to take hold of that which He holds out to me. I have outlived my father by over eight years already, but that may just mean I have more areas that God needs to correct before He takes me into His home! I know I have plenty of room to grow as a pastor, and this is a good opportunity to do so. I need to be God’s instrument to provoke the believers into self-examination, to see where they are and where God wants them to be, so that they too may press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of them. If we will all do that, then there is no limit to what God can do in and through us for His glory.

Father, thank You for having me put this passage into the Scripture reading list for today. I pray that Your Spirit would touch us all and both inspire and empower us to do exactly as this verse says, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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