As some of you know, Philippians is my favorite book of the Bible. In large part, because of the first 11 verses of the second chapter. However, another chunk of my favorite scripture is in the third chapter.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Pressing on Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Read the whole chapter here.)
There are so many great lines in there. “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss.” “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of know Christ Jesus my Lord.” “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.” “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” “I press on toward the goal to win the prize.”
But the one that takes the cake for me is “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Part of the reason I love this verse is that there is mystery in it. If you look through many of the different translations, you will see that there isn’t exactly a unanimous interpretation.
But to me, the idea is that we are pressing on, striving and reaching out for the life that Christ Jesus had in mind for us when he died for us. The life that is based on sacrificing ourselves and sharing in His sufferings. Christ Jesus took hold of me for Him. Christ Jesus went through everything he did so that we could be His. He went through everything He did so that there would be nothing between Him and us.
So, we press on toward Christ. We press on to take hold of Christ.
Today begins the week that Christ endured so that we could receive the prize. Think about that. Everything Christ went through wasn’t for His benefit. God doesn’t need anything. God doesn’t need redemption. We did. We do. And yet, Christ was arrested, beaten, tortured, poked and prodded, pierced, forced to carry a cross, nailed to the cross, abandoned and died so that we could get the prize.
So we press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
All of our efforts in the week to come are not only for us as we pursue Christ. Our efforts this week are also for those who still don’t know that there is a prize to pursue.
This week, we press on to lead others to the prize of Jesus. This week, we pray for those who need to hear the message for the first time. We pray for those who have heard but never received. Think of how great it will be, when at the end of this week, we hear stories about those who made a step or even reached out and took hold of that prize!