Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past couple weeks. My eldest sister, Donna, came to town from Rhode Island and my other two sisters and I have been entertaining. The fun part was it was the first time all four of us siblings had been together since 1984 and really the first time we had been “family” since about 1969. It was a really good time so I didn’t do much writing.
However, the other night I ran across a Bible verse that really struck me. Paul wrote this to the Philippians: “Not that I have already obtained all of 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 Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
I’m not sure if this hits you like it hit me, but WOW – I find this very encouraging.
Tonight in our Wednesday Night Bible Study I was sharing with the class that the closer I come to God the brighter His light shines on my life and the dirtier I feel. The deeper my relationship with our Holy God and more I realize how unworthy I am in my fallen sin life. It’s the duality of being seen as holy and righteous in God’s eyes due to the work on the cross of Jesus Christ and the reality we live every day as fallen creatures living a life of sin.
I am encouraged by Paul’s words for several reasons.
First, he admits that he also falls short – God’s chosen apostle to the Gentiles falls short and has not obtained a state of Christ-likeness yet. That makes me feel a little better about my own efforts to do so.
Second, Paul notes that he is pressing on to take hold of that for which Jesus took hold of him. Again, that is encouraging because I know that Jesus took hold of me (and you) personally and has a reason for us to be doing what we are doing. We are in his hands and it’s okay.
Third, Paul says he is forgetting what is behind. He is referring to his life before Christ – all the sin, all the hurt, all the mistakes. He tells us we can leave all that behind and look forward – even imperfectly – at what is ahead.
Fourth, Paul confirms that what is ahead is our eternity with God and what he is trying to do is the work God set out before him – the reason Paul was created which is to serve God.
There are days when I feel as if I just don’t measure up. I know scripture tells us that we all fall short of the glory of God, but it would be nice to come close at some point! I think the key for us is remembering what Paul says above and crave Jesus in our lives, because it is Jesus who makes our relationship with God right no matter how bright the light He shines on our lives.
It is by grace through faith we are saved, which is a good thing because I’m afraid there isn’t enough dishwasher soap in the world to clean the cup that is me!
May God continue to bless you all!