Topic:The Great Motive
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Paul says this is the great motive of his life. He is not referring to the resurrection, he is referring back to verse 10. Not that I have exhausted the riches of knowing Christ. Not that I yet know all the power of his resurrection, or have been perfected so that I no longer need the fellowship of his sufferings. No, but I press on to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. What he literally says, as the Phillips translation renders it is: grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasps me. Laying hold of that for which he laid hold of me.
This was Paul’s mighty motive, to achieve all that Christ desired when he laid hold of him on the road to Damascus. Paul is saying, I want so to lay hold of him that he might use my life as an instrument to lay hold of everything he had in mind when he arrested me on the Damascus road, hoping it might fulfill the purpose of his coming and we might all be together at the resurrection of the dead. Remember what the Lord said to Ananias on the day Saul of Tarsus was struck in the dust on the Damascus Road and he sent Ananias to him to baptize him? Ananias didn’t want to go because he was afraid of this persecutor of the church, and the Lord said to Ananias, Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name. Paul says, the thing that motivates me in everything I do is that I may fully lay hold of that; that I may so give myself to him that I may lay hold of Christ so he may lay hold of me for everything he had in mind when he saved me.
Now this is adequate living. It’s what it was in the first century. It’s what it is in the present century. What is it made up of? First of all, purpose for living, a reason for existing. Why are you existing? What are you here for? Have you discovered that for which God has laid hold of you? That part of his work he has in mind for you, for which he has laid hold of you? And power by which to live it, the power of his indwelling life? And an unshakeable platform of morality which can stand any examination? That is adequate living. May God grant we discover that.
Lord, I sense how much Paul entered into that which I have not yet discovered. Save me from that folly that says this is all right for him but I could never make it. Teach me to know that Christ in me can be all that he was in Paul.
‘Who am I?’ ‘Why am I here?’ We might also ask: ‘Who owns me?’ Do we respond with Paul: ‘Christ Jesus has made me his own’? Do we press on to lay hold of him and of his purpose for our lives?