“Not as though I had already attained [obtained], either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend [take hold of] that for which also I am apprehended [took hold] of Christ Jesus.”
pressing on Published week of january 3, 2021
Well, it is the beginning of a new year on the calendar and that usually leads to new resolutions, goals, along with new strategies and plans. There is something about starting fresh that is invigorating and encouraging. Sometimes we refer to a new beginning as “turning the page” in our life or “a new chapter”. Whatever the case, fresh starts feel good, don’t they? It is unfortunate, but often man's best laid plans are never accomplished. Sometimes, we sincerely make new goals but we do not see them achieved. Most of us are quite good at starting . . . but finishing is all that counts. Yes, it takes discipline to persevere but somewhere between the starting gun and the finish line, we lose sight of our intended purpose and the newness wears off, reality sets in and we give up.
Please allow me to carefully ask it this way: does your walk with Christ make you different? A relationship with the God of the universe should not be one of many priorities. After all, Jesus is not a slot on a calendar or an item on a to-do list. Following Him does not take place in a couple of hours each Sunday. Jesus is not part of a Christian’s life – He is a Christian’s life. There is a huge difference in the two. The Apostle Paul understood this difference.
Notice the choice of Paul's words in this verse. He says, “I follow after.” This phrase doesn’t merely mean to follow or run, but a heated pursuit. It means to run after something as if to chase it. The Apostle Paul is describing his relationship with Christ, that is, he as a finite man is pursuing the infinite God.
What is Paul communicating through this word picture? After all, Paul already has a relationship with Jesus Christ through faith. So why run so hard after Someone you already believe in and have a relationship with? Or we may ask the question in light of the wording of this verse, what is it Paul is pressing on to take hold of, if he is already saved? I think the answer to that question is found as one reads this verse in the content of the entire third chapter of Philippians.
Are you pressing on after Jesus with all your heart? Let 2021 be the year that you not only start well, but also finish strong. Make this be the year that you chase after Jesus with full abandon and steadfast faith.
“Gracious Father, thank you that I don’t have to be perfect, just persistent. Please help me to press on in You during this new year. Help me not be become distracted by the noise of this world or the distractions of my life. I choose this year to draw near to Your heart so that I may glorify you today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”