Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Insights: Robert Robinson wrote a hymn titled Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing in which the third verse says, “…Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to Thee: prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love….” We live in a world that pulls on our heart strings in every direction. Politicians are constantly watching public opinion polls and attempting to please everyone. This consumer mentality has crept into the church as well and we tell people they need to be flexible and tolerant of other people and their opinion. The church is in trouble when it attempts to please everyone. Yet, like the song says, there is a pull and an inclination to wander and leave God. Barry Cram in his lesson on the heart of the barbarian warrior for God wrote, “For the true barbarian, public opinion rarely matters. The barbarian has an audience of One. The barbarian who is seeking to please God will, at times, likely be at odds with those seeking to please men.” In today’s verses Paul is declaring to the church of Philippi his resolve to remain steadfast and immovable as he pursues God. We are human, however, and it is possible for us to mistake a word from the Lord. At this point it would do us well to read the words of Ignatius of Loyola regarding conflicts and convictions. If someone differed with him, all he desired of himself and them was to “petition again and again that that Holy Spirit my thus confirm his (or the other persons) resolution.” If they were willing to do this, Ignatius was fine with disagreements. He went on to write, “The same Spirit could inspire me to take up one point of view for some reasons and inspire others to the contrary for other reasons, and what takes place would be the appointment requested by the Emperor.” All Ignatius wanted was a humble heart before God, not man. To the one pursuing God, he would have told them, like Paul, to stay true to the course set before them.
- Are you one who wavers in your faith?
- Do you chase every fancy in order to make people happy?
Prayer: Father, help me to understand there is only an audience of One and You are that audience. Let my heart be drawn to You and You alone and by Your grace let me finish the race well. Amen.