Day Thirty-Two: Find Your Calling
January 1, 2020
By Dave Perry
By Dave Perry
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.
Philippians 3:7-14 (NIV)
Goals. Life is full of them. If you think about it, they come from all angles and in countless forms. They can be almost infinitely small or big, simple or complex, short term, long term, personal, emotional, financial, spiritual, or relational. Goals are often a combination of these attributes and many others I’m sure I’ve failed to mention.
Sometimes a goal is as tiny as trying to get a quick dark roast from the coffee shop on the way to work and not be late for the first meeting. Yes, coffee is that important!
Goals can be deeply personal and emotional: I want my children to be successful, happy and content. Goals can be complicated: How can I reach the next step in my career while still dedicating all of the time and energy that my family needs? Perhaps you, like me, have a goal to exercise a bit more and eat better. Lifestyle goals can be very difficult, by the way!
Paul seems to me to be very goal-driven, but his life goals came in two distinct phases. In the first place, he was proud of his lineage, his knowledge, his accomplishments and his righteousness.
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. (Philippians 3:5-6, NIV)
How much of this rings true for us today? My guess is that very few of us have a goal to be a Pharisee, but at least some of Paul’s goals expressed as lineage, knowledge, career, and character hold true for many. But along Paul’s journey, he meets Jesus and his goals are radically transformed. His old goals are lost and he considers them “garbage.”
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 (Philippians 3:7-8, NIV)
Paul has a new goal. A goal to win the prize for which God has called him.
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. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians from jail. Christians in that day suffered great persecution. Paul had lost all he had earned from his prior life before knowing Jesus. Yes, our present day world has many attractions, distractions, and complexities, but how does that compare to Paul’s situation? Achievement for Paul’s life goal could only come one way. He had to respond to God’s calling, through faith in Jesus.
We must do our best to understand God’s calling for our life. We must pray and listen carefully and then respond fully.