Lord and Sovereign, You are the God of all my possibilities. You preside over all my comings and goings. I rest in You.
Read PHILIPPIANS 3:12-21
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Paul said, “One thing I do” (13). With us it is more likely to be “these one hundred things I dabble in”! Life is a multiplex, but out of the multiplicity, Paul had found the unity.
Passion and perseverance may at first sight appear somewhat incompatible. Passion shines bright, with the energy of a sprint, but can be over in an instant: someone launches into a project with wonderful ideas, but flakes out at the first hurdle. Perseverance may seem very dull in comparison, like a slow marathon. The faithful plodder, reliable and self-disciplined, may be less noticed but is invariably respected. In this text, both qualities are beautifully combined in Paul as we witness his single-minded perseverance inspired by a passionate response to God’s grace.
Expressing the intensity of his emotions, Paul urges the believers to run the Christian race with great determination. Having told the story of his promising past and present passion, Paul insists on drawing full attention to his future goal: completing the race for which Christ has entered him. Despite his imperfections, everything about him strains towards that finishing line: knowing Jesus Christ fully. Fascination with earthly trivia (whether greed or legalism or something else) is a pitiful distraction in the light of the Savior’s glorious appearing. In the meantime, precisely because that future hope stretches like elastic right back into the present, Paul presses on with grit and focus.
In the busyness of personal and church life, we need to keep that goal before us. In our mission and evangelism, we call people not to a spectator sport or short-term therapy, but to a lifelong marathon. We offer new Christians opportunities for service, not to fill a need but to build faith muscles through exercise and practical workouts. In our activities, we refuse to be sidetracked or diverted. In our weariness and stumbling, when it seems like a slog, we remind each other that Jesus has hold of us. We persevere, fueled not by temporary excitement or adrenaline but by a passion powered through knowing Christ day by day.
Think of those you know who seem to have abandoned the Christian race. How might you come alongside them?
Patient Father, keep reminding me that my salvation is not dependent on what I do but on Your “unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15, KJV).
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