Pressing on Toward the Goal
"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." (3:12) When Paul writes, "Not hat I have already obtained all this..." he is referring to the words he wrote in the previous verses, "...that I may gain Christ 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." (Philippians 3:9) I love that Paul is not perfect and admits it. He seems perfect, but he had not been made perfect, and none of us will be, until we are in heaven. But that doesn't stop Paul, "I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold me." The commentary puts it very simply, "Paul's goal is Christ's goal for him, and Christ supplies the resources for him to "press on toward the goal."
"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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (3:12-16) I do not believe that Paul somehow had forgotten his past and how he persecuted Christians before his own salvation, but that he did not dwell on his past sins. "Not losing all memory of his sinful past but leaving it behind him as done with and settled." (Bible Commentary) Our sin is covered by the blood of Jesus. Jesus Himself said on the cross, "It is finished." (John 19:30) Our sin no longer has a hold on us under the blood. We are free. We are a new creation. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) It is Satan that wants to remind us of our sin and hold us back, not Jesus. Jesus wants us free and able to walk in His glorious plan for our lives.
I remember when I was twenty-four years old I met a wonderful man, but knew that I had so much past baggage that I feared that I would never marry him. What past baggage? I was raised in an abusive home and at the age of twenty-one my family followed cult leaders in their instruction to murder me. I was beaten for hours, rejected, thrown out and became homeless. (My testimony is in my blog). Yes, I had A LOT of emotional baggage and I knew it. How could I ever be whole enough to be a good wife or mother? Why would anyone want to marry me? But in my heart I wanted to be married. I wanted children. So, through my tears I cried out to God and prayed, 'Lord, I know I am a mess, but I want to be married. I promise that I will follow you all my days and seek healing, but please do not withhold my husband from me until I am made perfect.' I was so afraid that God would say that I would have to go through years and years of counseling before sending me my husband. I am happy to report that our God doesn't see the junk and sin in us, He sees His Son's finished work in us and pours down the blessings. I was married to my hubby less than two years later and we have six beautiful children. Am I perfect now? Have I overcome all that nonsense and pain from my past- most of it. God used the Word of God, journaling and when I hit a road block I sought out a Spirit-filled, Christian psychologist, but my focus has been not the healing, my focus is JESUS. I don't search out inner healing, I search Jesus, to know Him. To know His love and as He calls me to remember something and forgive it, 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." (3:13-14)
Thank you Jesus that you never ask us to be perfect. Thank you that when we believe in your death and resurrection that your blood covers our sin. Thank you that you see us as new creations, set free from our past, and as your beautiful children. Thank you that we can trust you to lead us into healing and you will heal us. Thank you that I do not need to be afraid of my past, and it's strongholds. You have won the battle for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.