Passionate Pursuit

We disciples of Jesus are in a continual process of transformation. We are called to a life of becoming more and more like Jesus and less and less like ourselves as we pursue a growing relationship with God, with other Christians, and with those who have yet to make a saving commitment to Jesus.

Paul summarizes this pursuit in Philippians 3:10-11: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Paul is clearly not speaking of a rule-driven religious insurance exercise that seeks minimum coverage at minimum cost. He describes a relational pursuit—“knowing Christ”—that opens the way to fresh resurrection power, embraces the humility of sharing in suffering, and is fueled by the promised hope of everlasting life.

Paul then describes how he intends to live out this aspiration: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But 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” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Allow me to highlight a few aspects of Paul’s strategy:

  1. AFFIRMING ROOM FOR GROWTH. Even Paul, apostle to the Gentiles and Holy Spirit-inspired writer of a significant portion of the New Testament, knew he had room for greater relational connection and ministry influence in Christ. He resisted the temptation to rest on present accomplishment and position, knowing God desired to bless him with ever-greater depth of intimacy with Christ and impact for Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. INTENTIONALITY. Paul was focused on “one thing”—he would not allow himself to be distracted or lulled into complacency by other good things the world might have to offer.
  3. PURPOSEFUL RELEASE. Paul chose to forget what was behind—past accolades, past failures, past offenses—anything that might weigh him down. The past, good and bad, was covered in Christ and buried with Christ.
  4. FORWARD FOCUS. Paul exercised passionate concentration upon the path ahead of him. His heart was to lean into all God had yet to unfold.
  5. CONFIDENCE IN CALLING. Paul’s intent to continually step into the victory that God had already accomplished for him, knowing that, to paraphrase another verse from Philippians (1:6), “he who began a good work in him would carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I have much to learn from Paul’s words here and much to seek God’s Spirit to accomplish in and through me in the days to come. Let’s join together in choosing this passionate pursuit, pressing on toward the fulfillment of God’s call for each of us expressed so eloquently in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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