Some time ago I shared with a friend that my heart’s desire was to be in the nucleus, the center, of God’s will for my life. I have harboured that desire for quite some time now because of my conviction that of all the places in life to be, there is nowhere safer. However, I continue to learn that having the desire and actually being there are often times as far apart as the east is from the west. Or so it seems. I often have to remind myself that God’s grace is what bridges the gap between where I am and where I need to be, and despite the challenges and the number of times I have stumbled, my responsibility is to keep pressing towards the goal.
I reflected on this as I read Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi and the passion with which he articulated his thoughts on his goal. According to The Message’s paraphrase, Paul wrote: “Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant–dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ–God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience His resurrection power, be a partner in His suffering, and go all the way with Him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision–you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it” (Philippians 3:8b-16).
As we enter the start of another year, a time for personal resolutions for many, I am hard-pressed to think of a better goal to take into 2021. For some people, 2020 was a very difficult year. COVID-19 swept and continues to sweep across the world, leaving in its wake thousands of deaths, millions of anxious hearts, business closures, job losses, to name a few. We eagerly look forward to a better year. Yet amidst everything, it is important as believers that we stay focused on the ultimate goal – to know Christ in a much deeper and more intimate way. To know Him as Paul desired [“experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely” (v. 10, AMP)] demands a level of commitment that sees us surrendering ourselves and all that pertains to us to the Lordship of Christ. As we allow Him to take over lives, God begins to shape us to conform to the image of His Son Jesus; the one whose desire was to always do the will of the Father (John 5:30, KJV).
What is your primary goal for this New Year? Is there room to diligently pursue after and do whatever it takes to know and experience Christ more personally?
To you and yours, God’s very best for a year of abundant blessings.