Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Why did God take hold of each of us? Does He have a plan for us and a mark that we must reach to receive all that He is prepared to give us? The answer is an unqualified “yes.” If we want the fullness of Christ we must not stop “short” of receiving “all” Christ has for us.
God has been dealing with me in a strange way for two weeks. I have been agonizing to reach the understanding of the Spirit’s leading and work in me. At the same time Christ was telling me to prepare myself to come up higher. We cannot go “higher” without our flesh being further crucified and purified to give Jesus Christ greater dominion over us. Christ’s Spirit was working in me to prepare me for spiritual growth, and the pruning process was sometimes uncomfortable.
David knew what work God needed to do in him in order for him to “gain back lost ground and go higher with God.” David prayed for God to: Psalms 51:9-12 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean Heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit. He understood that His spiritual needs could only be met through God.
I needed understanding and direction from the Holy Spirit to “reach higher” in Christ. I resorted to doing the usual amount of prayer, praise, study and meditating on God. 1Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. The Lord finally worked within me to desperately seek Christ to receive from Him my needed answers. It was then that I began to understand that I had to seek Him with all my heart and strength and earnestly desire to reach higher with God. There was an “asking, seeking, and knocking” that I had to do before God would listen to me. I had to appreciate the privilege of having more of God. If we do not treasure God’s wonderful benefits and gifts then we will take them for granted and they will lose their power and become useless to us and the world.
Every spiritual blessing, revelation, or gift we receive from God begins and ends in Christ. For two days the words of Paul in Philippians rang loudly in my mind and spirit: Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. That scripture was saying to me that Paul hadn’t reached perfection yet, and He was going to “press on” to Christ with all His might and power to become the unique spiritual person God called and chose Him to be. He was determined to reach the goal Christ had set before him and finish the works he was called to do. Christ was the image before him and he determined to be like Him.
Paul accomplished more spiritually and eternally than most of God’s children ever accomplish, yet He knew God had called Him to do much more. Paul’s answer was to pursue Christ with vigor and determination up to the end, so He could finish the race and win the prize Christ had for Him. Paul was consumed with the passion to reach the goal Christ had set for Him. 2Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
I see through the lives of the apostles the same passion to be “all” Christ called them to be. You can’t cease pursuing the image and work of Christ before the end if you want to win the prize of “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” I shudder that I would fail to bring Christ the glory He so richly deserves by being idle or stopping short of the goal. If we “pursue Christ” to the end of our lives, He will enable us to do everything we were meant to do. We cannot be lazy Christians! Nor can we expect Christ to do His will through us if we’re not fully involved and pursuing His calling. If we receive the reward, we must give Christ our best efforts and work until the end. 2Peter 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Many of us are resting in Christ, when we should be pursuing Christ. Inviting Christ within us is only the beginning of our walk with Him. Just because we can’t see what God wants us to be or do, we must remember that a walk of faith “is not seeing” ahead of time all that God has ordained for us. 2Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. We must seek Christ and pursue Him so He can fulfill His perfect will in us. We should not stop our pursuit of Christ until our work is finished or He appears.
Many of us “stop short” of bringing all the glory we could to the Kingdom of God because we don’t realize there is much more to be received from Christ or we don’t know how to proceed. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We must ask Christ not only to create His image within us, but we are to actively pursue our calling (work). Only Christ can fulfill within us the nature of Christ, His wisdom, and the power needed to bring to fruition His complete work in us. He must prepare us to work for Him.
Most of us recognize that in ourselves we can do nothing, but we are without excuse because the scripture says, Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. What we need and what the world lacks is more of Christ. We have been commissioned to take Christ to the world, live His life before all men, and to become the image of Christ. Christ is our mentor and the goal for our life. Oh, to be like Him and finish the works we are called to perform!
Many of God’s children have become satisfied with crumbs when Christ has prepared for us a never-ending feast of knowledge, understanding and everything that it takes for “life and Godliness” 2Peter 1:3-4 As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
To complete the work that Christ has begun in us is to “pursue Christ and press on” until we receive that which Christ ordained for each of us. We cannot exhaust in a million life-times all that God has prepared for His children. 1Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear Heard, nor have entered into the Heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Sin is a worldwide problem so how should we pray effectively for the world condition? The answer for the world is effective, powerful, and loving Christians sent forth to the world in Christ’s name. We need men and women of God – given wisdom and understanding – that are raised up from His ranks and united as “one nation under God.” We need a people and a nation strong under God to bring the lost and the weary unto Him before His appearing. Only the truth will make this world free from the tyranny of sin and satan. John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”