“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” –Philippians 3:12
Ooooh I love this verse! I love how Paul describes it as Christ taking hold of him, because I can relate to that so much. When I first became a believer, it felt like such a natural response. When I finally got a true glimpse of the love of Jesus, it just took hold of me… there is no other way to put it. It wasn’t a choice I felt forced into out of obligation or drudgery, but simply a joyful response.
In Romans 2:4, we are reminded that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Yes! It is that otherworldly kindness and love we find only in Jesus that takes hold of us, and that keeps pursuing us day after day.
Another reason I love this verse is because it doesn’t negate personal responsibility. “I press on….”
All throughout the bible we see this theme of endurance and perseverance. Yet, it is only because Jesus has us in the palm of His hand that we can persevere, and that we even want to in the first place.
In John 6:39, Jesus tells us that He will not lose a single one of His children. In some paradoxical way that I will never understand this side of heaven, we are completely secure as believers because of the work of Jesus, but we are also completely responsible to choose to follow Him and persevere through trials of our faith. While that may not make sense to our logical, black-and-white thinking minds, it is one of those mysteries that I have seen play out in my own life time again.
I could go on and on about what exactly it was that Jesus took hold of us for, but instead I want to end with this encouragement:
During times when it seems most difficult to pick up our cross and follow Jesus, we can press on with confidence, knowing that “He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).