Pressing Toward Christ
“… 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
She’d lost everything—her ranking, scholarship, and her very identity. Worse, she had to look her professors in the eyes, in front of all her peers, and admit she needed help. That, on her own, no amount of hard work could overcome her inherent flaw—dyslexia.
In the span of a semester she went from believing she could accomplish anything with enough focus and perseverance to feeling frightened and insecure. Her initial response—to try harder, studying long into the night in an effort to regain what she’d lost.
But it wasn’t enough.
Was this how Paul, one of the religious elite in Ancient Palestine, felt as he studied the Torah and recited prayers—as if his efforts to reach God and earn His favor—were never quite enough? Each day, as he followed his faith’s rules and regulations, did his ache for God grow? As he witnessed the brutal killing of Christians who revealed a peace Paul had never known, had forever failed to grasp, did he long for what they had?
His Pharisitical background and moral excellence gave him every reason to boast, but there was something he lacked—a relationship with Jesus Christ. No amount of effort could gain him that. To reach Jesus, like my daughter, Paul had to admit he needed help. He needed to realize all his efforts were like rubbish and rest in the only One with the power to save.
Once he did, he gained what he longed for—Christ Himself, and all Paul’s former prestige felt as valuable as old, dirty rags, good for nothing but the trash pile.
His relationship with Christ cost him a great deal—a respected position and, at times, his freedom. But Paul gained far more: access to God Himself and the ability to live in a way that pleased Him. That’s what he strained for—to become the man Christ had created him to be, a goal he now, by grace, could attain.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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