by Rob Parlante
(Pursuing your Spiritual Goal Part 3)
Philippians 3:12-13 (HCSB) Not that I have already reached ⌊the goal⌋ or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,
Looking at these verses, one has to ask, what does Paul want to take hold of. Paul goes on to state he doesn’t consider himself as have taken hold of (it). What is Paul referring to as (it)? What is the (it) he desires? We get a hint by looking at the word hold. Paul wants to take hold of (it), because he has been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. So the (it) is started by and initiated by Christ. Paul wants to take hold of what Christ has taken hold of him. In other words, Paul wants what Christ has planned for his life. Paul wants to be an extension of Christ. Paul wants to express and reflect Christ who indwells him. Paul wants to allow Christ to live His life through him, be used by Christ and experience Christ as his life.
But Paul admits he hasn’t taken hold of what Christ has taken hold of him. To take hold of (it), he is forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. The word reaching in the Greek has a sense of stretching and straining forward. Reaching forward is like a process. We reach forward by knowing (See Blog Pursuing Your Spiritual Goal Part 1), allowing by faith (See Blog Pursuing your Spiritual Goal Part 2), and seeing Christ work in our lives. We don’t reach and take hold of it all at once, but take hold of parts of it. Our finite minds couldn’t handle taking hold of it all. Can you imagine your whole life being mapped out for you and told to you by Christ? This would be hard to rest in.
So we reach again by knowing and allowing by faith, and again see Christ work. Always reaching forward to know, always reaching forward by allowing by faith, and always seeing how Christ is working. This is how to take hold of (it). The more this occurs, the more we grow in Grace and are increasingly more in tune to the Sprits leading. We gain a clearing understanding of being led by the Spirit, or walking in the Spirit. We experience Him.
Paul also mentions he at the same time is reaching forward, he is forgetting what was behind. He is forgetting past failures and moving forward. It’s ok to fail if you sincerely what to know and are allowing by faith, because Christ is working in your life. Failure highlights areas of error in our thinking. If there is a failure, the Spirit reveals truth which displaces the error, we take a step of faith and rest in truth, and we learn from it and reach forward again. We are growing in Grace and Christ is living through us.
So reaching forward by knowing and allowing by faith manifest itself by Christ living through a believer. This is experiencing Him. This is experiencing Christ. We experience Christ in our personal circumstances.
To Experience Him
Many Christians want to jump right to “Experiencing Him”. Christ can do all things, and will work in one’s life in His timing. This can happen. But wouldn’t it be better to pursue Knowing Him, Allowing Him by faith and Experience Him daily.
By Paul reaching forward and taking hold of it, He experienced Christ. All believers can reach forward and take hold it and experience Christ. I want to encourage you to make every effort to Know Him (Christ) intimately, to Allow Him by faith to live His life through you, and to enjoy Experiencing Him in your life.
This blog is the final in a three part series called, pursuing your spiritual goal.
To Know Him > To Allow Him > To Experience Him
If you would like to learn more about the truths described here, come join us at Grace Christian Church, currently meeting at the Freehold VFW, every Sunday at 9:30.
Elder / Grace Christian Church