Philippians chapter three feels like a gauntlet thrown down with a challenge. “Will you run until you have finished the race?” it asks. And then we are shown how to respond to the call. Passion to go for what is ahead activates endurance for a journey that draws strength from Holy Spirit to cross the finish line.
“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.” [vs. 12-13]
There is a reward in running the adventure of faith; a crown of life (James 1:12, Rev. 2:10), a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4), a crown of rejoicing (1 Thess. 2:19), and a crown of righteousness (1 Tim. 4:8). And that is only the beginning.
Philippians chapter one has an inescapable point its making. Verse 30 says, “For you have been called by him to endure the conflict in the same way I have endured it—for you know I’m not giving up.”
As a former “quitter,” I used to give up when opportunities I had been given demanded more than I had to give them. Several key opportunities were lost in the early days of my walk with the Lord for the lack of tenacity. Those points of suffering were designed to increase capacity. Oh, I could describe occasions of tears and screaming, “It’s too hard.” But I know I’m the only one who’s ever been there. Right?
Romans 5:3-4 speaks of the Greek work thlipsis. Trouble, distress, oppression, tribulation; they’re strong words for tough situations. But these things produce something that nothing else can; perseverance, proven character and hope.
Winston Churchill encouraged me on many circumstance. Never give up, never give up, never give up. Maybe those words will help someone today.
“Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace. This superabundant grace is already working in us all forms of wisdom and practical understanding.” (Eph. 1:7-8, TPT)
Grace is not passive. It’s intensely active; causative. Perriseuo (superabundant) means excessive to a very great degree, to the point of causing increase. It’s part of the treasure of our redemption which forms in us wisdom and practical understanding. Whatever we face, whatever we need, wherever we go, what breakthroughs we require, these things are preceded by the cascading riches of Papa’s grace.
“Have you really rejected us, refusing to fight our battles? Give us a father’s help when we face our enemies. For to trust in any man is an empty hope. With God’s help we will fight like heroes and he will trample down every foe.” (Psalm 60:10-12, TPT)
Wherever personal spiritual victory is needed, our only hope is to allow Papa God to bring the inner battle to the surface where we will face our foe head-on. His freedom is fought in the light of spiritual realities and permanent transformation of our inner being. A father’s help establishes true identity in sonship and daughterhood with the design for a relationship of continual intimacy that is life-giving for ourselves and all those in our sphere of influence. We are powerful people; heroes of faith, hope and love. With his help, we can’t fail.
In 1 Kings 6, there is substantial description about Solomon’s building project. It’s impressive that quarried stone was delivered to the building site and needed no further dressing to make them fit. That made for a fairly quiet job site.
But even more impressive is the skill-sets of the craftsmen who did the work. They had gifting and wisdom that were the best around from the laying of the foundation to its completion. Anyone who has built anything knows the critical importance of the finishing details.
Holy Spirit is the ultimate craftsman in God’s handiwork of transformation. He is never in a hurry, and works with precision and beauty. Paul says in Ephesians 2 that we are his workmanship. The Passion Translation says, “We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us.” With that perspective, we can trust that the work he has begun in us will not only be completed, but it will be a work of excellence.