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 toward 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)
Have you “arrived”? Are you as close to God as you can be? Are you satisfied you have reached God’s best for your life?
If so, I don’t want to waste your time. This isn’t for you.
But for the rest of us who have a hunger and a thirst to know God more personally and to join Him in His work this is for you! It is time to seek the Lord, get His vision for our lives, and set goals that will help us to experience His heart’s desire!
Where do we begin?
Of all the worthy goals one could set, which is the most important? What goal would make the biggest difference in our lives, our families, and our future?
There is just ONE thing:
Pursuing an ever-growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Any number of important things could have been Paul’s priority instead of Christ. Just imagine…
· Make enough money to live comfortably and not rely on offerings
· Straighten out the dissension in the church at Corinth
· Help Timothy and other pastors
· Raise money for persecuted believers
· Bring the gospel to Caesar
· Start churches in Spain
· Develop future leaders
· Have better health
· Avoid getting killed
Instead, Paul was focused on ONE goal: Jesus Christ.
His obsession was Jesus. His first love was Jesus. He longed to be with Jesus and he lived for one reason, to glorify Jesus. With Christ as His priority all these things could be done in God’s will. Without Christ as His priority NONE of these things mattered.
Some of you may say, “That’s fine for Paul, he was an apostle, but I’m just a regular person.”
Let me ask you a couple of questions:
Does the Lord Jesus Christ have you, own you and live in you?
First, does the Lord Jesus Christ have you, own you, and live in you?
If not, you have good reason not to be obsessed with Christ – you don’t know Him!
Paul said, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Christ possessed Paul. He purchased Paul with His own blood. Paul knew this and he knew the only goals that mattered were God’s goals.
Second, have you “arrived”? Have you learned all you can learn, done all you can do, and are so much like Christ you can say your mission and purpose in life is complete?
Again, Paul said, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal.”
If you had finished all God had for you to do you wouldn’t be here. Few would admit they think they have “arrived,” but by their actions many do believe just that. As the saying goes, “You can tell a know-it-all, but you can’t tell him much!”
Have you stopped learning and growing?
Have you stopped learning and growing? People who believe they have “arrived” have stopped learning and growing. These folks have all of God they want. If they need Him they will let Him know. In the meantime, they are busy; they have lives to live.
I submit to you that “regular” people who are possessed by God are never the same.
You may say, “This sounds radical!” It is. What Christ did for us is the most radical event in history! He summed up all the commandments and said the most important is to love God with all that we are. Paul was right to be obsessed with Christ.
It is a good time to evaluate ourselves and sharpen our focus
At the beginning of a New Year, it is a good time to evaluate ourselves and sharpen our focus on what really matters. If you have never truly surrendered your life to Christ, today is the day of salvation! If you have truly been born again and Christ has changed your life it could be you have allowed other things to take the place of the main thing. It is a good time to reorder priorities.
It is also a good time to work out a plan for personal growth. What practical things can you do to be all God wants you to be?
And finally, the beginning of a New Year is a good time to forget the past. Learn the lessons of the past, but don’t live in the past. Press on to love Jesus more.
“But one thing [emphasis mine] I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
May God mercifully help us as we press on for Christ in 2018 and if He allows us to see 2019, may we know Him more intimately and follow Him more closely.
By God’s grace and for His glory,