Very few days go by when I don’t realize just how far I have to go to be like Christ. I think marriage does that to a man. I look at the example of the husband Christ is to the church and the kind of husband I am to my wife, and I quickly realize that I fall far short far too many times.
And so as I look at Paul’s words when he talks about how he has yet to become all Christ has taken hold of him to be, I can totally relate to him. Honestly, it can be discouraging. But I cling to what Paul says in verse 12.
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
I like how the ESV puts it,
I press on to make it (Christ’s righteousness, a relationship with him, his sufferings, his death, his resurrection) my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
“Because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” That’s a comfort to me. I don’t have to earn my standing with Christ. He has already made me his own. I belong to him now. I am his child. And so even when I fail, I don’t need to fear that he will reject me. I am already his.
And so now I press on, not to earn my standing with God, but to fully experience all that I have in Christ. His righteousness. His sufferings. His death. His resurrection. And most importantly, a relationship with Jesus Christ himself. To come to know him as well as he knows me.
So in my failures, and even in my successes, I say as Paul did,
One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (13-14)
I don’t want to dwell on my failures. That will only drag me down. And I don’t want to dwell on my victories. Because that will just make me complacent. But each day, I want to keep my eyes on the prize. I want to see each day what God has for me, and to become the man that he created me to be.
And Paul says that should be all of our attitudes. He says,
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (15-16)
Do you think you’re mature? You’re still not where you need to be. Press on.
Do you think that you’re a failure. God has already made you his own. Press on. And wherever you are, don’t start going backwards.
But live up what to you have already attained. And then push further. Not in your own strength. But in the power of the Spirit who lives in you.
How do you live your life each day?