I'm so glad Paul admitted he never "made it." I mean, what a guy, right? He learned to be content in any circumstance - and he didn't live a quiet life in the Midwest either. I mean, jail, shipwrecks, and undercover operations were just another day in the office for this man. Transformed from Christian killer to Christian by the power of Christ, Paul's theological understanding came straight from the Lord. Forget commentaries, the man was God's chosen tool to give us the bulk of the New Testament that we read today. An encouragement to churches spread across the known world at that time, Paul was very clear in a letter to the Philippians,
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)
And I'm so glad he "never made it." If he had, all my failures in all my petty circumstances would feel much more pitiful. As I try to match his efforts to "take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold" of me, I struggle with the pressing on.
His admonishment to the church that precipitated this assurance was,
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 3:8-11 ESV)
Really, Paul? You think you can know God and the power of his resurrection? You're willing to share in his sufferings and even die? You are clearly better at this "Christian life" thing than I am.
And just when he knew they'd put that letter down in defeat - certain they'd never be able to attain that kind of faith - Paul let them know he didn't have it all together.
And, oh! Thank goodness for that.
I've been sorting through some things lately - pretty weighty things - and I'm aware that sometimes I'm driven by fear and that sometimes I promote myself and that sometimes I hide behind pride and that sometimes I am selfish.
Let's be honest, it's way more than sometimes. My failure doesn't mean I'm not in the same race, pressing on with Paul toward the One who calls me, redeems me, and strengthens me to run for what will bring most joy.
I can still let LOVE fly like CrAzY even when it seem like I'm not qualified