Saturday, September 8, 2012

Philippians 4:8-14

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,


9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:


10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;


11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.


12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In Paul's letter to the Philippians he presents his approach to the Christian life. In verse 12 he acknowledges he has not yet arrived at perfection or yet attained to the resurrection of the dead. I would like to be able to ask Paul exactly what he meant by saying that he had not attained to the resurrection from the dead. Was Paul implying that if he did not continue on with Christ that he may not attain to the resurrection or that the resurrection from the dead was still out in front of him? What Paul meant about not yet attaining to the resurrection from the dead may not be clear, but what is clear is the course of action that he took.

In verse 13 he said that he forgot those things that were behind and reached forth to what lay before. Paul had a lot of things in his past he had to forget and leave behind; as a follower of Christ his position of prominence in the Jewish religion and his former hostile stance against the early church was something that could mentally and emotionally be a hindrance to his walk with Christ. Therefore Paul chose to leave them behind and to reach forth to what God had before him. God had before Paul what He has for every believer: the gift of eternal life and the reality of having fellowship with God Himself through the blessed Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead. To put it in the simplest terms, God has set before us blessed fellowship with Himself; we should ever be moving towards and grasping for this Holy fellowship with God. It is not that God is not with us as believers, when we place our faith in Christ, we are born again of the Holy Spirit and our spirit is one with His Spirit; but being one with His Spirit and walking in fellowship with God is not the same thing. To walk in fellowship with God means that I am walking in agreement with His will (how can two walk together except they agree?) and that I am trusting Him fully. I believe Paul was reaching forth towards this fellowship with God; all believers should follow Paul's example and reach forth to this fellowship with God. In verse 14 Paul elaborates on his pursuit of the things before him.

Paul said he was pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Note the words he uses; the verb press brings to mind thoughts of opposition and the effort he put into his walk towards God, the phrase "toward the mark" speaks of a specific goal, "prize of the high calling" tells of the preeminence and the glorious walk that God has called believers to, and "God in Christ Jesus" puts it in the proper perspective letting readers know that it all about God.

Do you know that this glorious prize is for all believers? God extends and calls all who have placed their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior to sweet fellowship with Him. However, we must leave behind the junk of the past, the sin and anything else that will hinder us from trusting and obeying God in all things and reach forth and press towards following God wholeheartedly. It means that we must put some effort into it, even to the point of pressing through whatever stands in our way. Dear friend, I do not place before you an easy life nor a safe life I put before you the only life that is truly worth living, fellowship with a God that loves you with an inexpressible, everlasting love that is all summed up in the crucified and risen Christ Jesus, God's only begotten son whom He freely gave to us that we might have life through His name.

Choose today fellowship with God.


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