Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers, I donâ€™t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (WEB)
This Scripture has been a favorite in our family. My son, John, always included it when he would autograph items as a professional baseball player.
Paul is letting us know that even though he may have many reasons to feel confident in his relationship with God (Philippians 3:4-6) none of that has any eternal weight. He says he has not achieved:
- a righteousness of his own through the law
- a knowledge of Christ and His power
- a fellowship in Christâ€™s sufferings which brings fellowship in His resurrection.
He goes on to say, however, that in faith he attempts to grab on to what he doesnâ€™t yet know or understand because Jesus has already taken hold of him.
Paul is brutally honest with himself, saying that he has failed in the past, but he is going to keep trying. He wants the prize of eternity with Jesus.
Failure is not a reason to quit trying. Certainly not in my relationship with Jesus. It is an excuse.
The Gospels are filled with â€œfailuresâ€ to whom Jesus extended His hand to help to their feet, encouraging them to try again. It was His very example, being totally human, that tells me He is there to encourage me on.
Luke 2:52 says Jesus did not come to earth with all but that He grew.
Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16, and many other verses tell us that Jesus withdrew to pray. He needed to spend time with the Father to receive strength and encouragement.
Luke 22:43-44 shows me in Jesusâ€™ most difficult moments. God sent an angel to minister to Him. The Father knows my weakest moments, too, and sends angels to minister to me. Oh how the enemy, the Accuser, does not want me to look up from my despair and see that help!
My friends, let us â€œpress onâ€. Let us not get stalled in deception but rather reach out to the One who is right here.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If you will humble yourself and pray, I AM will hear.
Psalm 145:18 He is near when I call
Isaiah 65:24 Before I call, He answers.
Jeremiah 3:33 Call Him and He will answer.
Joel 2:32 Everyone who calls will be saved.