PHILIPPIANS 3:12: “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.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What is the goal of life? What is the goal of my life? When I read this familiar verse I ask myself –
“What is the purpose for which Jesus has laid hold on me?”
I think of David when I ponder this question. David said in the book of Psalms – “I was once young, but now I am old…”. Age has a determining factor in how we answer this question. Paul is writing to the Philippians shortly before his death. It comes from a life perspective that sees more in the rear-view mirror than in the front windshield. There is a sense of sobering wisdom in the words Paul writes to the Philippians.
I too am now at a place in my life where there is more to see in my rear-view mirror than through the front windshield. I have completed two careers and am now on my third. The things that seemed to be of great importance when I was young are no longer a driving factor in my life. I find myself looking more and more at my heart than at the prospect of future accomplishments.
The goal of my life has moved from what will I do to what will I become!
When we are young our lives are filled with hopes and dreams of what we will do, accomplish, and possess. We work hard to establish a career, buy our first home, and fill it with all the things that we feel are so important. We may do this at the expense of our relationship with God and our family. We desire the latest technology, the new car, the vacation of our dreams, and all the accouterments of comfort. Then one day, something happens.
We look around and realize that we really do not need anything!
As we look in our rear-view mirror we begin to see the things we have missed. Our priorities begin to focus and we sort out what is truly important in life. We really don’t need a bigger TV or a new car. What we need is a greater capacity to love, believe, forgive, and serve others. We hunger for a deeper sense of the presence of God. We begin to look upward and our thoughts are directed more to heavenly things. And, then we realize what it is that we have been laid hold on by Jesus Christ.
We have been laid hold on to become more like Him!
The goal in life is never about anything in this life. The goal in life is to become like Jesus. To be clothed in His righteousness. To be united with Him in eternity. To be transformed from this broken vessel into a glorified vessel that is fully transformed. As Paul looked through his rear-view mirror, with all of his accomplishments, and with all of his credentials, he proclaims,
- “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11 NKJV
I will never forget the day I prepared to move from Texas to Florida. On one wall in my garage, there was a storage shelf. On this shelf, there were the last few boxes of my parents’ earthly possessions. Most of them were pictures. Their 80-plus years of life would not be remembered through their possessions. The homes they lived in had been sold to others. The furniture and cars were gone. In the end, they had something much more valuable,
They had Jesus!
As my dear mother lay unconcious on her bed, as her life began to slip away, something remarkable happened. She opened her eyes and began to gaze into heaven. This was not merely a muscle reflex. Something tangible was happening. Her eyes were fixed. I know she saw the Lord ready to receive her into her eternal reward. She was entering into the fullness of that which Jesus had laid hold on her for. She closed her eyes and then entered into the presence of Jesus.
I will never forget that day. And, it has changed how I look at life. I only wish that I had this perspective at a younger age. This is why I am sharing these thoughts. You don’t have to wait until you are old to gain this perspective. You can begin to live life to its fullest today by refocusing your goals. Unlike what the bumper stickers say, the person with the most toys is not the winner. The one who gains Christ is the true winner in life.
The wonderful song, “Give me Jesus,” sums up these thoughts.
In the morning, when I rise,
In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus…
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world, but give me Jesus!
Lord, this morning – Give me Jesus! May I too count all but loss for the excellency of knowing Jesus, being clothed in His righteousness, and transformed by His love. May I daily rejoice in the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, and the ultimate blessing of the resurrection from the dead!
In Jesus’ Name!