Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Christians are often encouraged to work, and work very hard, based on our Epistle passage for this week. In Philippians 3:12-14 we are told that Paul pushes and strains for a prize in Christ. And we are also rightly urged to the same striving. Yet we must ask what our right goal is. After all, we will only hit a goal we cannot rightly see by accident. We are much more likely to hit a goal that we are looking for.
Sadly, we easily encourage ourselves right into the fruitless pursuit Paul described in the previous paragraph. In verse three, he spoke of it as a confidence in the flesh. He had the right birth, in Israel. He was of the sect which took God’s Word seriously. He pursued the faith diligently. That sounds very like what we urge ourselves to do. Yet it was useless to Paul, as it is useless to us.
The pursuit Paul needed from the start, the same we need, was to pursue knowing Jesus as Lord. Paul needed to be found in Christ (v. 9), trusting in Jesus’ righteousness delivered to him by grace through faith. As long as Paul worked toward his own goals, his own goodness, his own righteousness, it would not benefit him. It is only as he looked to Jesus that he would find hope.
It is the same for us as for Paul. Our striving can never be after our own godliness, but must always be intended to know Jesus, the one who gave himself for us. This is where we find true hope.
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