Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Monday, May 13, 2013

To be known or not to be known...that is a great question!!!

Philippians 3:7-14 (English Standard Version)

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 

"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."

That I may know Christ is a profound statement. I have been in an Ignatius of Loyal study of listening. Ignatius was a spiritual director and wrote a guide for spiritual development. These writings are known as the spiritual exercises. The unit I am currently developing in my listening to God is that God truly desires to know me and desires for me to know him. God has created me for the purpose of relationship, but more than a relationship, God truly wants to live with me and allows me to live with him. The same truth is offered to you.

Paul was satisfied with Jesus Christ but He was not satisfied with his Christian life. To many, Paul was a spiritual giant. However, he wanted them to know that he had not yet obtained his spiritual goals (v. 10). He was still actively pressing...straining... toward these goals. When Paul spoke of his gain he was referring credentials, credits and successes (vv. 7-8). He could beat the Judaizers at their own game  (being proud of who they were and what they had done) but it is the wrong game. We need to be careful of considering past achievements so important the they get in the way of our relationship with Christ. Paul gave up everything (family, friendship and freedom) in order to know Christ and His resurrection power (vv. 9-11).

Many Christians are self-satisfied because they compare their life with that of other Christians. If Paul had compared himself with others, he would have been tempted to be proud and perhaps to let up a bit. Instead Paul compared himself with himself and with Jesus Christ! He had not arrived at perfection (v. 12), but he is striving for maturity (v.13), and one mark of that maturity is that he is not perfect.

Paul pursued Christ likeness with the enthusiasm and persistence of a runner. Vigorously and with concentration Paul sought to win the prize to which God had called him. He kept his eyes on the goal and he refused to let anything distract him (v. 14).

It does not matter what my age or where I am in my Christian walk,  I am running to win and have a goal of finishing well for the Lord through "straining" to reveal myself in relationship with him and then accepting the revelation of God in my own life.

You know I love ya,
Don

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