Reach Up! Day 9 of Making 2019 the Year of More

If you’ve ever received a letter or email from me, you probably found “Phil 3:7-14” under my signature.

While I treasure every letter and every verse in every chapter and on every page of God’s Word. These verses encapsulate my heart because they basically bottom line the Christian life.

Today’s passage is the longest in our 10 day devotional, but if you take a few minutes and read both versions below, I think it will truly give you a deeper understanding of what it means to truly forsake all and follow Christ.

Philippians 3:7-14 (NKJV)
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have already attained,or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:7-14 (Amp Classic)
But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ’s sake.Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One), And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith. 10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] 11 That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. 12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. 13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

I remember when Jesus saved me, I woke up that morning and told my husband I was going to go to church. He began to give me every reason in the world why I shouldn’t go.

For those of you who don’t know my testimony. Donald and I met in a bar. He was the drummer in the band – so going to church was one of the last things he was interested in doing.

But I realized that Jesus died for me and that I needed to respond to what He did at the cross. I knew that Donald wasn’t going to be standing before God for me – that I would have to go solo in that day when our ultimate fate awaits us all.

Understanding that I may even lose my husband, I knew I had to choose Jesus. After all – He died for me… and from that point forward I wanted to live for Him.

So, when I read, “What things were gain to me, these I counted loss for Christ” I remember the day when I knew I had to count it all loss for Christ and give my life to the One who gave His life for me.

Losing Donald was a risk I had to take because, while it would have ruined my life, I was completely aware that losing Christ would have ruined my eternity.

I guess when you sum these verses up, they remind us that nothing on this planet can compare to Christ. Nothing is more amazing than really knowing Him – personally, intimately, passionately, relentlessly.

We need to count it all loss and let Jesus take care of the rest.

That’s what I did when I gave my life to Christ in 1987 and I hope that’s what you’ve done as well.

Today’s passage goes on to say that we are to forget what is behind and press forward to what is ahead.

That’s a big one for me too because the rearview mirror of my existence was pretty rough.

  • Conceived as a result of a rape
  • Experiences a decade of sexual abuse from 2 family members
  • Date raped
  • Abusive relationships
  • And the list goes on

So, forgetting those things which are behind resonated with me. And when God saved me, He gave me a new heart and a new life and the power to overcome the past that I didn’t even realize was overcoming me.

And then there’s the reaching and pressing forward in Phil 3:13-14. For me, I realize the forward is really up.

Paul uses an athletic expression where runners never look back so they don’t get tripped up and he indicates the need to reach forward like a runner does when she’s crossing the finish line so she can finish her race well.

That’s what I want my life to look like. Reaching forward yet really reaching up. The forward I’m reaching for is really and upward reach. Wanting to finish well for Christ while trusting Him in the race of life He’s given me to run.

Paul understood that God had given him his own personal race. Acts 20:24 says,

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my [brace with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Whose race did Paul say he needed to finish?

His own race.

We all have a God-given, Divinely-appointed race to run.

I can’t run your race and you can’t run mine.

I can cheer you on. I can help you along the way. I can drag you kicking and screaming when you want to quit and I can carry you when you’re too tired to take another step.B

But you’ve got your race to run and I’ve got mine.

And the only way we’re going to run the race God has given us to run well – and the only way for us to stay on the path He has for us in this race – is to reach up and grab the hand of God as He carries us along the way.

We cannot complete the race and stay on the course He has for us unless we constantly choose to REACH UP!

So, today, we’re in our next to the last day of our journey to make 2019 the year of MORE.

  • MORE means counting everything else loss.
  • MORE means understanding that knowing Christ is the most important thing we can do.
  • MORE means not thinking we’ve already attained and understanding we are still growing in this journey.
  • MORE means forgetting what is behind… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so that none of it can trip us up. Remember, Paul was forgetting the good stuff too. Not just the bad stuff.
  • MORE means pressing forward and reaching up so that we can run our own race well and honor the Lord with our lives in our journey.

What about you? What did you learn from today’s journey to MORE?

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