Foundational Scripture: Philippians 3:13-14; Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
To understand the idea being conveyed here, we have to understand that in the Hebrew, or Greek, the words carry a much deeper meaning than does the English language. For instance, the word in this verse: “apprehended”; to us it brings to mind the idea of someone being caught, arrested or taken into custody. Or the idea of an animal being caught in a trap, and we see it as being used to express an outward action, somewhat disconnected from us; the action being applied to something else outside of us. But in the Greek, the understanding means:kä-tä-läm-bä'-nō
to lay hold of a) to lay hold of so as to make one's own, to obtain, attain to, to make one's own, to take into one's self, appropriate b) to seize upon, take possession of.
It expresses the idea of an inward seizing....bringing it into ones self! Making it your own personal responsibility. Apprehending or seizing ones self! You see, it is very common among human-kind to place blame onto someone else. To say that someone else is responsible for me getting into this mess!
Such as the case of Adam after he fell along with Eve his wife; He answered to God when questioned and said; “The woman that you gave me....”. And the woman of course responded by saying; “the serpent tricked me...and I...”. So it is easier to pass the buck, rather then taking full responsibility for our own actions.
The Psalms are filled with scriptural descriptions of reaching up; ex; Psalms 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.
Psalms 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard [him], and saved him out of all his troubles.
Psalms 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, [even] into his ears.
All these gives us the visual of reaching up! When we think of “reaching up”, we seem to relate it to being in trouble or distress and needing the LORD to save us and to deliver us. Although that my be true and is a good thing, but here, I believe that the Apostle is speaking to us of something more personal.
In the 13th verse of the 3rd chapter of Philippians, we read; (from the KJ's) 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,
Reaching forth; Reaching up....! In the Greek, the phrase is: ep-ek-tā'-no-mī which means; to stretch out to or towards/ to stretch (one's self) forward to.
You see, the LORD doesn't just want us reaching up to him in our times of troubles! But He wants and expects us to be Reaching up, Reaching forth, growing up in our personal walk with Him! Stretching ourselves forward towards Him; becoming more Christ like!
Hear what Paul is saying....”reaching forth unto those things which are before...”. The LORD Jesus expects more from us! He exhorts us all to become perfect as He is perfect!
Not that we would become sinless..no, not at all; but that we would become more mature, that we would grow up into the Head...which is Christ Jesus as says Eph. 4:15.
If we are to “Reach Up” for anything; it should be, to become more like Christ and to leave all of the junk and baggage that keeps us from reaching forth unto those things which are before; that keeps us from stretching out to, or towards Him in holiness and righteous living. In speaking to the Galatians, Paul said; Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? Who, are what will you allow to hinder you? To stump your growth, to keep you from “reaching up”!
All of this implies work on our part. We have to get involved with the LORD in working out our own salvation. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (Reach Up!)
No we are not saved by good works, nor of our own righteousness, the blood of Jesus was the only pleasing sacrifice that the Father has accepted; but we are commanded to kill our flesh, to mortify the deeds of our bodies. So let's summarize what Paul is saying in verses 13 and 14 of Philippians 3. He says; “I count not myself”. Meaning, I put no trust nor confidence in me, nor my flesh; for I know in me (my flesh) dwells nothing good. I am not so arrogant as to think that I have come to the point in this walk that I have nothing further to improve upon!
“But this one thing I do”. I realize that there is more that I can do. I am not the super saint that others see me to be! I admit that there are problem areas that need immediate attention.
“I press”. The only alternative I have is to press, to “reach up”. Because there is more that the LORD wants to do in me and through me. And he can't use me as I am now! So how do I press...by “reaching up” for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, through getting the sin out, by not continuing to do those things that will grieve the Holy Spirit of God!
So I admonish you Saints, to reach up, reach up...not in the sense of “God help me”, “remove this trouble”. But in the sense of coming into maturity, and growing in the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
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