10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, 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 ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:10-14
It’s so freeing to know that I can lay hold of something that Christ has already done; He has set me up for success. I did not save myself through my own efforts; all I did was allow Jesus to take hold of me by believing in Him and putting my hope in Him.
The day Jesus died on the cross, he did not just die for my sins to be forgiven….
- Absorbed the wrath of God
- Showed obedience
- Showed us how to love others
- Abolished the law
- Became the ransom for many
- Died for the forgiveness of sins
- Brings us to faith
- Makes us holy
- Came to bring physical healing
- Reconciles us to God
- Sets us free from sin
- Enables us to live for God
- Shows us how to live by faith
- Gives marriage deeper meaning
- Gives me a passion for good works
- Makes us followers of Christ
- Frees us from the fear of death
- Came to destroy hostility between races
- Gives us real joy
That’s awesome! That’s huge! The day Jesus died on the cross He laid hold of all those things for me!
He also laid hold of me!
The day I put my faith in Jesus, I became His and I don’t just say “Oh thanks for dying for me, now I feel good about myself” NO! The day God pulled me from the miry clay, He set my feet on a rock. On a new path, a new road. I now have destiny, purpose and a mission to walk in all the things that Jesus has done.
To “lay hold” means to apprehend or seize after a pursuit. It’s chasing and grabbing and keeping in a firm grip so that you can’t get away. So what Paul is saying is that Jesus chased him down, seized him, and put him on a new path. Once Jesus puts us on this path, we have a mission, a purpose. That purpose is ultimately to bring Him Glory. You can’t bring Him Glory if you don’t know him. So we spend this life getting to know Jesus and then, to make Him known to all.
Becoming like Jesus is a life long process. It takes years for kids to grown to maturity. I can’t expect more from my 7-year-old son, Ethan, than what a 7-year-old can do, just like I can’t put a T-Bone steak in front of my baby and expect him to eat it. In our journey of Christ-likeness, He gives us some ways to stay on track. This is to keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful.
Thinking back to my first 10km race; I had been training for months and felt ready to tackle it, expecting to finish under an hour. But on the day, I felt completely overwhelmed at the distance. I remember seeing the first sign that said 3km and shortly after a water station. I remember stopping, drinking my water and then saying to myself. “Now all you need to do is get to the next water point.” I started running again knowing I only had to make it to the next water point and before I knew it, the 6km marker was there….and I kept doing that till I finished the race with a big smile on my face.
Here are some water points to get you through the race to maturity. These points will help you be more effective on your journey.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Peter 1:5-9
This is the foundation, God’s gift to us. He has laid hold of us, we believe in Him. He has done all the work.
This is becoming more like Jesus. Acting like Him. Being Christlike.
Knowledge through the word of God. God’s word will make us knowledgeable on how to know Jesus better.
The only way to have self-control is to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us…to be led by Him.
This is the ability to endure hardships and distress. It helps keep us following Jesus even in trials.
Being aware of Jesus in EVERY aspect of your life brings Godliness.
Christ accepts everyone, so can we.
Self-sacrificing love, just like Jesus.
3 Things that can Hinder your Maturity.
These 3 are what I’ve found in my life to be a hindrance.
Trials, Pain, Suffering
John Piper says: God’s glory shines more brightly when he satisfies us in times of loss than when he provides for us in times of plenty”
The way you respond to pain, trials and suffering can literally stop you in your tracks and keep you from growing. Trials, whatever they are, reveal the real you. It shows you what you truly believe. it strips you of all the idealistic ways and leaves you in a vulnerable place. Yet, we are to rejoice in our trials.
For 5 years of my life, I was consumed by the pain of infertility, to the point where I couldn’t worship God. It stood in the way of my relationship with God and with people and I refused to give it up. I believed a lie that if I held on to it, that somehow I could “make” God do what I wanted Him to do. How immature. One morning during worship, I felt God say, “If you never have a child, will I be enough for you? Am I really your great reward?”
It took me about 3 months to surrender and I remember the day where I said – “You are enough for me! You are the only one I need.” WOW! The freedom that came on that day! Did I still cry about not having a baby? Was it still a painful time? YES! But it was no longer keeping me from worshipping God and I was now using it to draw closer to God.
When you spend your life comparing yourself to others, you won’t have time to grow.
We are all different. We have different gifts and talents. Don’t compare. Comparing yourself will stunt your growth, waste your time and make you unhappy. Be bold and be who God has made you to be. Whatever gifts God has given you, use them to lay hold of people for His Kingdom.
Live a God-glorifying life.
Our comfort and security in life can quickly become the most important thing to us, so much so that we refuse to trust God.
I always think of the Israelites and the Promised Land. Their safety and security were more important. What a waste. In my own life, I’ve allowed fear to keep me from possessing all that God has for me. It’s on e of my daily struggles and God is always reminding me of His promises.
The fear of not having enough, the fear of rejection, the fear of bad news, fear of death, fear of the future…. You overcome fear by declaring the word of God. Fear is the enemy and the word of God the sword. Use it. It’s the only way. Don’t allow fear to paralyse you from being obedient to God.
God expects maturity from us, we Glorify Him when we become more and more like His Son Jesus.
In this race, in this journey to Christ-likeness, you are not left alone. God says I will never leave you nor forsake you. He also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower us to do all these things. At the same time, he puts us in community, in His body so that we can mutually encourage each other in this journey. Jesus paved the way for us. He has done it all, now walk in it.
*First published on www.cupoffaith.co.za on 15 January 2020