Day 30: Running the race

Paper Tigers & Impressing God

A Write 31 Days Series

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
— Philippians 3:12-16 ESV

I started this series with these wrong ideas (taken from my intro):

  • I thought I could impress God by being good and doing good.
  • I have been working my head off serving in ministry, and I felt like God would be disappointed in me if I didn't do well.

Here we are at day 30.  Have I achieved my goal of understanding how wrong these statements are?

I look at this verse in Philippians, and it is full of verbs that my try-hard, do-good heart loves.

  • press on
  • straining forward
  • toward the goal
  • hold true

Am I wrong to think we should let go of the striving?  Just look at this persuasive call to action?

My goal of this series was not to prove that we could stop doing things for God; it was to change the attitude of the doer.

Here are the things I wanted from this series (taken from my intro):

  • a clearer understanding of our relationship with God
  • a truer understanding of the God who created and loves us
  • a sounder theology
  • a humbler position
  • no longer driven to earn God’s approval or love
  • and no longer driven to impress God

I think if we look back a few verses in Philippians, we can see how these ideas are met before all the action takes place.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
— Philippians 3:7-11 ESV

Paul is saying that His righteousness only comes through faith in Christ.

In order to run the race, pressing on and straining forward, we must first know this truth.  Knowing this truth deeply, down in your bones, only comes with maturity as a Christian.  Maybe that is why verse 15 says, "let those of us mature think this way."

I pray that my striving to impress God has come to an end and that I can continue my race, maturely knowing that my righteousness only comes through faith in Christ.

I cannot earn a right standing with God through good works or good behavior (the law).  Faith in Christ is the only option.  As scripture says, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."


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And a song...