#622 Paul’s focus in prison Part 3 Going forward with Passion
“Yet my Brothers, I do not consider myself to have ‘arrived’, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped me. Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands out-stretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of my high calling by God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul writes about his past and his faithfulness in keeping the Law, and that he lost every advantage he had gained regarding the position of honor and respect he had as a Pharisee for “the overwhelming gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:1-8 He traces how his ambitions have changed now that he has “that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ”, ambitions to share in Christ sufferings. Verses 9-10
“Yet my Brothers, I do not consider myself to have ‘arrived’, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect.” Paul does not let his past mistakes and sins (as a Pharisee when he actively persecuted the Church of God, verse 6) or his need for continued growth get in the way of his passion to go forward in Christ.
“But I keep going on, grasping (Strongs #2638) every more firmly that purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped (Strongs #2638) me…” “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. But this one thing I do…” He acknowledges that he was grasped, laid hold of, (#2638) to take eagerly, seize, possess) by Christ Jesus. This may be a reference to his conversion experience on the Road to Damascus, when He was drawn by the Father to Jesus, and the love of Christ won his heart and led to his full consecration. Acts 9:1-19 He would strive to live the same passion in his life in Christ.
“But I do concentrate on this,” “But one thing I do”: Paul had a lot of time to think in Prison house arrest. But he leaves the past behind and he is eager to accept whatever lies ahead for the goal of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Whatever the experience he was eager and willing.
Jesus has laid hold of and eagerly seized us for service and for blessing. May we take strong hold of him and the mission he has given us. May we reflect the Love of Christ as Paul did in his challenging experience of prison limitation, and leave the past sins and mistakes behind; may we not let our continued need for growth discourage us and get in the way of our living for Christ. May our focus and priority be this mindset of passion, that whatever the challenge and experience, we with hands out-stretched to whatever lies ahead, go straight for the goal—the reward of being called to this high calling by God in Christ Jesus, the fruitage of the joy set before us.