Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (
With all his abilities and accomplishments, Paul the Apostle did not think he had arrived. That would not happen until he arrived in heaven and was totally transformed into Christ’s likeness. Since encountering Christ on the
where the Lord captured him, Paul had been captivated with Christ—His glorious person
and grand purpose. That man of God
wanted to know more of Jesus, to grow more like Jesus and to show more of Jesus
to the world. It was his relentless
pursuit—his magnificent obsession! Perfection
was the standard and Christ-likeness the goal.
This gave him an incredible focus that brought an incomparable force to
That is the stirring challenge for us. In the words of Oswald Chambers it means to give, “My utmost for His highest.” God does not do this work apart from me—I am to give my utmost—yet, my utmost demands His highest, since I can only work out what He works in. The task is supernatural and requires spiritual power. For this, we have Jesus Himself. By His Spirit He indwells us, and is in the process of shaping us for eternity. As we surrender to His control, we grow into His image more and more until that final Day.
There is always more to be done until then. On this pilgrim pathway we sometimes stumble. Satan would have us then to lay in the ditch and wallow in the mud, broken down and useless. No! By the grace of God, get up and go on. The blood of Jesus will cleanse you and His strength will repair you! Paul learned from his past, but was not limited by it. Neither must we be. It is onward and upward!
The Apostle Paul put it this way in
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand that we should walk in them.”
The word, “workmanship,” is poema in
the Greek (from which we get our word poem).
Ours is a life of rhyme and reason.
The Divine Author is writing on the parchment of our being a living
message. We are his literary
masterpiece. From eternity, He had a
design for us, conceived in His omniscience.
Now, He is writing it line by line, completed by His omnipotence!
God does not produce junk. You and I are choice creations of His. It is true that we are all a work in progress, but the assurance is that work will be completed, and so much the better as we yield to Him. The Potter can break down the stubborn human clay—and will if necessary. But, how much better to be pliable in His hands, as He molds us into all He wants us to be. He is shaping me to be like Jesus—His light shining from me, His love shared by me, His life shown in me! I can make a difference in this world because He has made a difference in me.