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.
We all seem to complain about the complexity of contemporary life. It is noisy, non-personal, fast-paced, and exhausting. There are too many functions to attend. There are too many people vying for our time. We pine for times of quiet and simplicity.
I bear either very good news or very bad news, depending on how you hear it: LIFE WILL NEVER CHANGE UNLESS YOU FIND ONE THING THAT CONSUMES YOU. Multi-tasking is a great skill, but single-minded passion is the glue that holds life together over the long haul.
Of course, there is the danger of settling for too small a passion. Some people can build their lives around such meager goals as money, leisure, hobbies, traveling, or comfort. What a shame to end life's search with such a lame discovery when there is a real treasure that can be found. The apostle Paul found it. He describes it in the text above. The God's Word translation states it this way: "I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me." There are treasures in Christ that are worth whatever it takes. He is the one who was raised from the dead. There is no enemy in the entire universe that can defeat him. Death has been killed by the power of an indestructible life. Hell has been closed to those who experience resurrection by faith in Christ.
There is meaning to life in Christ that goes far beyond the musings of philosophers or the mysteries of the mystics. Those who enter the race for the prize will find themselves on the highest level of understanding. They will find a satisfaction that goes beyond anything this created world can offer. Their sense of purpose will overshadow the trivial sufferings that human life faces. Christ has won for them a victory that, once tasted, will propel them through the darkest nights and vilest storms.
Think of it! It is possible to share in the same life that Jesus has. He has lived on earth in fellowship with the Father to show us that it can be done. Then he made it possible for us to do the same. He had to make the final sacrifice that would satisfy justice. He was raised from the dead by the same Spirit that he later sent to live in his followers. Then he ascended to the place of authority in the highest realm of reality to rule over the affairs of God. Since his ascension, his followers have the role of representing this kingdom on earth. What could be a greater call than that?
How sad to settle for a ticket to heaven when we die or to settle for a smattering of church activities while trying to build a name or a fortune on earth. The call of God to share the life of Christ is worth expending everything. That is the one thing that will simplify life. Until that is the singular goal, there will be never-ending competition among the lesser pulls on our time and focus.
Let's make 2011 the year of divine simplicity.