Apprehending God’s Best

Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Following his Damascus road experience, where God transformed a rebellious sinner into a righteous saint; Paul knew that he was a “chosen vessel” (see Acts 9:15) and God had a plan for his life. Knowledgeable of this divine truth, Paul would give himself to apprehending God’s best and our text enlightens us to the manner in which he pursued it!

There are three things that I notice about the manner in which Paul pursued it. I notice that the pursuit was personal, “I press.” Paul was willing to accept personal responsibility for his spiritual temperament; past and present! The truth of the matter is; if Paul is to lay his hands on God’s best, the pursuit must be personal. Paul surrounded himself with great associates and contended with grievous adversaries, but neither could provide nor prevent Paul from the pursuit of God’s best. If I want God’s best, I must take responsibility for pursuing it.

I notice that the pursuit is proportional, “press . . . for the prize.” The degree with which one is willing to press is directly proportional to the value one places upon the prize! In II Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul gave a list of multiple adversities and adversaries that stood in opposition to attaining God’s best; rods, rocks, robbers, religious zealots and raging seas. How would Paul choose to view them? Paul declared them to be “our light affliction” when viewed in contrast to “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17). The word Paul uses for “press” means to pursue to the point of persecution, but don’t miss it; the greatest persecution of self was personal, “I press.” Paul declare, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (I Corinthians 9:27). For most, God’s best is not worth the sacrifice of self!

Lastly, I notice the pursuit is perpetual, “toward the mark.” Paul is telling us that he is in motion or moving in the direction of something; in this case he declares it to be “the mark.” Paul’s daily perspective is to look forward toward a goal and the mark is the goal at the end of the race. While God’s best can be appropriated daily, it is only be achieved and accomplished in completing of the race. Speaking to the saints at Corinth, Paul declares, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all . . . So run, that ye may obtain” (I Corinthians 9:24). Jesus emphasized the perpetual aspect of the Christian life when He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). There must be a perpetual persecution, “deny himself”, perpetual procuring, “take up his cross” and a perpetual pursuit, “follow me”, if one is to attain God’s best.

Like all those whom God has transformed from sinners into saints, we too are chosen vessels with a divine plan for our life. God has His best in mind for each of us and it is ours when we pursue “Apprehending God’s Best.”