Grasping; December 21, 2022

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.

We grasp, or grasp at, many things, but Jesus, our ultimate Example, didn’t do that. The things mentioned in this passage are worthy of deep and repeated meditation, because we can imitate them only by the grace and power of God. Much is made of identity these days, in various ways. People say they “identify” as this that or the other, often rejecting objective facts and even biology. Jesus didn’t claim He was other than God, but He released his identity as God in order to become a human being like us and take the penalty for our sin. When He went that far for us, how can we hold back anything from Him? God provides us with many things at our creation, from physical life itself to various abilities and supplies, so to speak, to enable us to fulfill His purposes for us. However, all those things are from Him, and we are no more than stewards. As Paul famously said, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) We aren’t to treat what God has provided lightly, much less throw it away, but we are to hold it all with open hands, allowing God to take anything from us at any time. That is emotionally very difficult! Grasping seems to be part of our nature, as is shown by the very moving pictures of preborn infants grasping a finger of the surgeon operating on them in utero. In that case it is very tender and sweet, but it can become problematic later on. It is said that monkeys can be caught by placing a desirable treat in a jar with a mouth just big enough to get an empty hand into it. A monkey will stick his hand in and grasp the treat, and then be tethered to the jar because they won’t let go of the treat in order to remove their hand, thereby losing at least their freedom and perhaps their life. We aren’t much better! We need to remember and believe that what God has prepared for us is ultimately so much better than anything on this earth, so that we will happily let go of anything temporal in order to better receive it.

I have known this as theory and objective fact for many years, but I keep getting lessons in it. I’ve never been athletic, but I have generally had good freedom of movement. From just three days ago my left knee has been acting up, making stairs painful. It’s giving me empathy for the pain my wife has been experiencing, both pre- and post-surgery! Likewise, it can be very frustrating to discover I can’t do something, mentally or otherwise, that I used to be able to do easily. I’m not to abandon such abilities, but neither am I to grasp them, making them part of my identity, which I am very prone to do. Everything I have has a purpose in God’s plan, and that is far more important than whatever I might think to do with it. I am not to grasp anything except my Lord, and thankfully, He has grasped me and won’t let go. (Philippians 3:12)

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for enabling me to put into words what You are walking me through. Help me indeed be the steward You want me to be, using all You have provided as You intend, fulfilling Your purposes on Your schedule 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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