Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended—Phil. 3: 13.
If any man consider that he has attained a satisfactory spiritual state, from that moment he may date the beginning of his spiritual decline. No present attainments can be satisfactory to a sincere follower of Christ who studiously endeavors to copy the Perfect Pattern. It is only when we turn our eyes away from Christ that self complacency can be exercised; for in full view of the Pattern our shortcomings are ever manifest. And if in pride of heart we do lose sight of them ourselves, they only become the more manifest to others. Only in the realization of a continual growth into the likeness of Christ should the Christian find satisfaction.
* * *
The Lord laid hold on Paul that he might attain and maintain under the hardest of trials a Christlike character. At the time of writing these words, Paul had not yet crystallized such a character. Many a person with but a meager proportion of Paul's character, would have been self-satisfied; not so the Apostle, whose sober self-estimate enabled him humbly to recognize his lacks and to strive to attain and maintain his ideal.
Parallel passages: Job 25: 5; Psa. 131: 1; Prov. 15: 33; Isa. 57: 15; Jer. 45: 5; Mic. 6: 8; Matt. 5: 3; 23: 12; Luke 10: 21; 17: 10; Rom. 12: 3, 10, 16; 1Cor. 13: 4; 9: 24-27; 15: 58; Phil. 1: 21; Rom. 7: 1; 2Cor. 7: 1; Heb. 5: 14.
Questions: What experiences did this week bring me as to this text? How did I meet them? What did I gain from them?
KEEP striving: The winners are those who have striven
And fought for the prize that no idler hath won;
To the hands of the steadfast alone it is given,
And before it is gained, there is work to be done.
Keep climbing: The earnest and steadfast have scaled
The height where the pathway was rough to the feet;
But the faint-hearted faltered, and faltering, failed,
And sank down by the wayside in helpless defeat.
Keep hoping: The clouds hide the sun for a time,
But sooner or later they scatter and flee,
And the path glows like gold to the toilers who climb
To the heights where men look over landscape and sea.
Keep onward—right on, till the prize is attained;
Front the future with courage, and obstacles fall.
By those, and those only, the victory's gained
Who look not to self, but to God above all.
Return to Calender