I was reading a post over at Alisa’s blog (Faith Imagined) called Foot Promise, in which she discusses the promises of Jesus and the struggle we face in achieving them. If you haven’t read it then, do not hesitate…just go there now! It gave me so much food for thought that I found myself leaving her a scroll instead of a comment. Realizing that I was being a little too expressive, I resolved my dilemma by deciding to write a post on one sentence which I found was most inspirational to me:
It reminded of what Paul expressed in Philippians:
"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus"1
On the surface, this may seem as if Paul is saying, in spite of the difficulties I face in this life, I am committed to continue until I hear the voice of my Savior call me to be with Him. But if I were to imagine I were Paul for a moment, I would say,
I am not just committed to continue! No. I am pursuing Christ with every fiber of life in me! Have there been times when I’ve been tired? Yes. Hungry? Yes, that too. Have I faced threats on my life? Yes, but it has only made me pursue Christ even more.
Oftentimes, pursuing Christ was the least of my concerns but time and experience have taught me the value of remaining hungry as I pursue Him. Not as if He is some kind of prey for my prayers! No, the issue (for me) is do I want to hear that upward call? Can you imagine what it will be like to hear the voice of our Lord calling you to, Come up here.
But how can I hear the upward call of Christ Jesus (enabling me to continue my pursuit)? And is it the call that's really compelling me or is there something else at work? As I examine these questions, I see (for me) that it isn’t so much me as it is Christ working in my life because:
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…"2
So it is Christ compelling me to go on by strengthening my faith in Him. Christ envelopes my life to the degree that I see Him standing in three distinct ways that compel me to pursue Him:
- Christ stands before me
- Christ stands behind me
- Christ stands within me
"Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest…"3
Christ stands behind me, encouraging me to remember that:
"I have been young, and now I’m old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread."4
Christ loves to encourage us; reminding us of previous times when we’ve faced some dire circumstance in our lives. He reminds us because He knows how easily we forget. How terrible would it be if you looked back through your life and had no memory; to have amnesia? Left to ourselves, we would often experience spiritual amnesia. When you remember how you made it through the storm of your life, that’s Christ encouraging you with a reminder, that, He never fails.
Christ stands within me, the resurrected Son of God strengthens me to pursue Him by faith, compelling me to press on. It really is no longer I but Christ in me, my hope of glory. He has convinced me that,
"…I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you."5
So I’m compelled to pursue Christ through the power of God working in me, changing me, renewing me, energizing me, compelling me to press on and be a new man; a man of faith. I don’t know about you but I want to hear Jesus call me. I want to hear the voice of triumph.
Is there anyone or anything to stop your compelling pursuit of Christ?
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ... But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."6
Will you stop if your company lays you off or your business fails?
Will you stop if the utility company turns off your lights?
What will stop you?
Will you stop if they call you that crazy Christian?
If they talk about you, will you stop?
Will the economy stop you?
Will politics stop you?
What will stop you?
Don’t you want to hear Christ call your name? Is Christ in you compelling you to press on?
Lord Jesus, I want to press on toward you in faith. Right now I see an obstacle in my path but it’s not the first obstacle I’ve faced. I know of your love for me because you've delivered me before. I’m going to trust you right now to deliver me again. May you hear my praise of you, thanking you for this victory. Amen.
- Philippians 3:14, NASB
- Galatians 2:20, NASB
- Matthew 11:28, NASB
- Psalm 37:25, NASB
- Hebrews 13:5, NASB
- Romans 8:35-37, NASB
- The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
- Nike running events, Chicago Marathon, image courtesy of Nike, Inc.