Reaching and pressing with hope
If you are a Christian did you know that you have a high calling of God? These two verses are one of the most quoted in the Bible. (13) "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 3:13-14.Paul was far more interested in the present and future than the past. Our background often times symbolizes defeat so we are supposed to repent and forsake our sins to ..."Reaching forth unto those things which are before." Not only was Paul "Reaching" but he was "Pressing" ..."Toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."Even though we got saved through Jesus Christ we still have to be fit for heaven. Someone may ask, "Isn't salvation in Jesus Christ enough to be fit for heaven?" That is the first step but if you will notice Paul was "Reaching" and "Pressing." That is what people do when they are running a race and by the way contrary to popular belief we are running a marathon not a one hundred yard dash. Passé yourself and allow a little margin for error.Many Christians around me say it would be great if Jesus returned today and I say perhaps today but if I am not finished my work for the Kingdom of God then what would be the point of going home to heaven. If I was a college student and said three years is enough but everybody knows that it takes four years to get a degree. Trust me God will let His children know when He is finished with us. The rapture or passing away to be with the Lord is very obvious when it happens. God has the final say when He takes us up to heaven.There is just one more point I would like to make and that is my education probably is not complete if I am still here on this earth in this age of grace. Sincere Christians talk about laboring for the Lord but what about learning more regarding our Savior Jesus Christ and His resurrection power? Some say, "I can learn more in heaven" but is that a one size fits all law? Maybe in some cases I can learn more on earth in trials and hardships.Heaven is our prize of the high calling. In everything we do our "Reaching" and "Pressing" is supposed to be our aim. Our reward is Jesus Christ Himself and the promise of heaven because ..."The high calling of God in Christ Jesus." is our aim. I like the way Paul phrased this because we are to expect the promise from God but it is through the hand of Jesus Christ that we receive our inheritance.(15) "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (16) Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." 3:15-16.In simple terms we allow Jesus Christ to be first in our lives but our hearts should be on heaven. These verses talk about unity in Jesus Christ so if there is a small issue that you differ with your brother or sister have a forbearing spirit and realize that you agree in the main truth which is Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose from the dead on the third day and is coming again. Always rise to the higher ground when disagreeing with a brother or sister because then you will be able to solve the problem through Jesus Christ. We don't want to judge anybody because we never walked a mile in their shoes so just be content with Jesus Christ in that role as judge.We are going to spend eternity together so if we differ pray that God gives us a greater understanding but the most important thing is to join together in the ways of Jesus Christ because the Holy Spirit will give us the answer in the small issues if we specifically pray for that request.(17) "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example. (18) For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. (19) Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. (20) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (21) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." Philippians 3:17-21.In this set of verses Paul warns them against false teachers. They were enemies of the cross and apparently their walk did not match their profession. There is a saying that often goes around Christian churches that says, "You can talk the talk but not walk the walk." It sometimes comes across as a cliché because some of the people saying this do not really walk the walk along with their talk. Paul did confess that he was repeating himself but this time with weeping. Whoever these teachers were they must have been really bad for Paul to cry but he did say it with love.The Apostle explains who these people were very specifically. (1) Whose God is their belly. These were people who had their primary focus on their sensual appetites. Righteous people give their void inside of themselves to God and He fills them but these leaders were going in the other direction.(2) This may be the worst because they were glorying in their shame. It should be the opposite because we should be confessing our shame. To place value in ourselves for what is reproachable is once again just the opposite of what we are to be doing for God and serving other people. There is no value in our sins and blemishes unless we confess it and use that failure to help others because of our mistakes. When Peter denied Jesus three times he repented and used that weakness to help other people. These leaders were just taking glory in their shame.(3) Their mind was on earthly things. When you hear people at work constantly quote sports scores take it with a grain of salt. Paul was saying their minds are contrary to the cross of Jesus Christ.(4) This point is the hardest to go over because Paul says whose end is destruction. Their way seemed right but what was at the end? The Apostle said if you follow them you will have the same destiny which obviously is the bad place in eternity. This is why Paul was crying.A genuine Christian even though we may be in this world has their conversation in heaven because this is not our home. Our final destination is Paradise. Paul says ..."For our conversation is in heaven." I always was skeptical of being in a Christian fellowship and then it happens --- the name of Jesus Christ never comes up and when I do mention Him there is silence.In verse 20 and 21 Paul talks about the rapture of the church and gets very excited regarding the truth of our vile bodies being changed or ... "Fashioned like unto His glorious body." I'm sure many Christians are reading this and looking forward to the resurrection. This is the power of God through His Son Jesus Christ.If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Savior and Lord please repent of all your sins and invite Him into your life. If you do not pass on before the rapture of the church you will go up in the great snatching away because you are now a Christian and living for Jesus Christ. The Bible does give us this wonderful promise so I would urge anyone to get right with the Son of God or unfortunately they will be left behind to face many horrors that will take place in this world. I trust you will make the right decision.God Bless,Bob D.