Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The pursuit of the goal

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

Paul begins this passage by saying “Not that I have already obtained this…” What is “this” that Paul is seeking to obtain? In the preceding verses 8-10, Paul talks about having a righteousness that comes through faith in Christ. in verse 10, Paul makes a very powerful statement: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection…”

In verses 12-14 quoted above, Paul states that he has not attained this righteousness that comes through faith. He has not completely and fully known Christ. He is pressing toward the kind of faith that makes us righteous in God’s eyes. Paul is pressing on to fully know Christ. He is going in the direction toward this goal.  

We must remember that the goal is not to attend church every Sunday and give 10 percent of our income to the church. These might be good habits to help us toward the goal, but they are not the goal. It is not the church attendance that makes us perfect—it is Christ that makes us perfect.  

As Paul states in verse 12, the perfection from Christ comes in the pursuit of Christ. Christ calls us to Him, and it is responding to that call that is our goal. We hear it from afar and we strive to find Him, much like a child responds to his mother’s call to come home to dinner. If the child is playing and having fun, he or she may not respond right away. If the child is hungry, he or she runs home quickly, heeding Mother’s call. Paul is urging us to run home, to respond to the call and to develop an appetite for the things of God that can never be completely satisfied so that we are always running home to eat.