Let Go to Lay Hold
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 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. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I love this exhortation by Paul. He opens up chapter 3 (in verse 2) by stating we must put no confidence in the flesh and ends that we must press on towards the goal of what Christ is asking us to do- to live for Him. A person that has been tainted by life and its troubles can easily walk a path of putting confidence in the flesh, which leads to feeling unfulfilled. For a person to get from realizing that their identity and purpose is not in flesh but in Christ TO realizing that we are to press on towards the goal of living for Christ can take time. Our life is a journey, our walk with God is a journey, and learning to let go of the past and lay hold of the future is a journey.
Life is full of disappointments, it can be tough, and sometimes it will be painful. We learn about disappointments as early as kindergarten. But God in His beneficent sovereignty knows what He is doing in our lives when He lets disappointments come. And for those that have faced extreme pain in their lives- abuse, feeling unloved, rejection- it can lead to years of trying to fill up the emptiness by engaging in any form of hedonism AND choosing to live away from God. And for those who haven’t been exposed to hearing about Christ’s love, thinking to become a follower of Christ and casting their burdens upon Him is the farthest thing from their minds. And, pressing on toward the goal of Christ is such a far out concept to embrace.
How we react in the midst of life’s disappointments reveals what’s in our hearts. If you turn to alcohol, sex, drugs in the midst of disappointments it reveals who you are. If you allow yourself to go into depression it reveals who you are. If you choose to cast your burdens to God and trust Him it reveals who you are.
We must ask ourselves, in the midst of life’s pains are we still trusting God that He has something better for us (Nahum 1:7)? Sadly pain, rejection, and feeling unloved is painful. But, the pain of recovery is far greater than the pain of injury. The rate of recovery is dependent upon us. Are we going to let go of painful seasons and experiences, so that we can press on toward greater things? Are we going to stay stuck in a bad season or are we going to press on?
The degree to which you are willing to embrace the pain is the degree to which you will recover.
If we resolve to embrace that pain we will come out stronger on the other side. If we choose to keep our faith in Christ and press on toward the GOAL of doing what He has called us to do, we will see that He has amazing plans for us. We just have to get through the tough season, stay in prayer, abide in the Word, and surround ourselves with a community of believers that can uplift us.
How we react to what is thrown at us in life is our choice. It reveals what’s in our hearts. But for the believer, we can rest assured that if we press on toward surrendering our disappointments to Christ and choose to live for Him, we will come out better than before! Not only will God bless us with better things, but He will also give us a deeper revelation of who He is and that’s the beauty of having a relationship with Him.
Happy Friday! xx