Press On: Paul’s letter to the Philippian Christians reminds them of his reasons for having confidence in the flesh. He reminds his readers of his credentials as a Jewish leader and his background as a persecutor of the heretical Christians. But he then confesses that whatever gains he had he came to regard them as loss. To become Christian, Paul reminds his readers he gave up everything in order to “gain Christ.”
Paul reminds his readers to “press on” like him. Not because he has already achieved his goal, namely resurrection from the dead, but rather because he too is striving towards this goal. In Philippians, “Christians are called to persevere in their faith,” says one commentator, “following the example of Paul, who remains hopeful and content even though he may be facing death.”
even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
In this Lenten season, how are you pressing on? In what ways do you feel that you have already met your goals? What goals remain? Do you strive toward the “prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” or do you understand your life goal in different terms?
God, where will your Spirit lead today? …