I’ve read Phil. 3 several times, but tonight, something clicked that never clicked before. I’ve always known that chapter was about change and pursuing Christ. And that’s just the thing, I’ve always known in my mind, but not my heart. Now, at this present moment, it is in my heart. What a comforting relief to know that I just have to let go, lay down my right to live my life as I please and how I please. It is an act of faith to put full trust in a god I cannot see, but this is what He calls us to. Relationship with Him is an exercise of the will and faith. We have to decide are we going to sit on the throne of our lives, or are we going to allow God to be fully God in our lives? It means opening our hands, palms facing up, and no more clenched fists. It means acknowledging that trying to run things our way just hasn’t and isn’t working. It means discarding the junk, and taking hold of Christ. Surrender. Never was a word more welcome, than now. Surrender to Him and stop trying to live life my way.
How’s that working for me? Ha! It’s not. I cannot become righteous of my own free will. It is all a vain attempt. I cannot do holiness in and of myself; it fails every single time. I cannot be perfection because I reside as critical judge, but oh there is freedom in dropping one’s guard and coming face to face with the sin-disease—that I have made myself my own God. You may balk at this but take a look at your own heart. When was the last time to you let God be God without trying to manipulate Him, others, circumstances, or your own life? Have the results changed or been the same? This is insanity. What we’re doing isn’t working, but there is One who can. It requires faith, pure and simple, just faith. And of course laying down one’s will at the foot of the Cross.
Paul wrote further “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made” (Phil. 3. 12-15).
The reality is that every day is an attempt to live rightly for Him. God already knows we are but flesh. The relief is that we don’t have to try so hard anymore. We don’t have to keep trying to do the work of the Cross. That’s God’s job, and He takes it seriously. He does not leave us as we are. He works through us to do His good will and to change us, but it requires faith from us in Him without dabbling our fingers in the pot. Paul reminds us to look forward. God is in front of us, directing traffic and leading the way. We can press on to possess perfection in Christ—by faith. God will do the work in us. God’s work is a work of grace. When I don’t let go, then I am operating under the law, under the flesh. No wonder things don’t turn out quite right. No wonder the change is not long lasting. No wonder the change doesn’t take root. No wonder we feel like we’ve gone around the same mountain 40 years. God’s way means, I willfully choose to believe Him. It means, I have faith in Him to do what He says He can do.
Now that…is something to consider. Laying down the selfish, strong-willed human impulse and taking hold of faith. A faith that births hope and clings to the Savior so that we can boldly say, “Lord, I’m ready.“