A Work in Progress

Sunday’s Scripture –June 21, 2020

Psalm 86:1- 10, Philippians 3:4b-14

Reflection

In the third chapter of his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul encourages the church to follow his example in pressing on toward the goal. He writes: “Not that I have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Phil 3:12)

So what is the goal of the Christian life? To where are we pressing on?

According to Paul, the goal of the Christian life is nothing less than Christ himself. It is nothing short of the fullness of Christ.

But in order to fully take hold of Christ, we have to fully let go of all else. And there’s the rub.

While it can be hard to let go of past sins, who doesn’t want to be free of them? But, it isn’t just our mistakes we must lay aside. It’s also our success, any reason we may have to boast. Often, it’s these that are harder to part with. But Paul is clear in the early verses of Philippians 3 that both our blemishes and our gold stars can get in our way when it comes to pursuing the goal of Christ. We must forsake them all.

Letting go is hard, isn’t it? Surrender goes against everything in us. We need God’s help to take every baby step towards this end. We are unable to loosen even one of our tightly clenched fingers without His grace. It’s only “because Christ Jesus made us His own” that we can “press on to make Christ our own.” (Phil 3:12)

And because it’s difficult, it takes time. We are a work in progress, each one of us. That God chooses to work slowly rather than in an instant is a mystery. Perhaps God is patient and gentle as we are transofrmed.

In the end, Christ is the only goal worth pursuing. The rest really is rubbish in comparison. (Phil 3:8) And so we press on.

 

Questions

  • Have you thought much about the goal of the Christian life? How would you describe it?
  • What is God slowly working on in you? How can you surrender to it?
  • What do you need to lay aside in order to press on and fully take hold of Christ?

 

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