The Upward Call of God

Reading the Word

Philippians 3:12–16 (ESV) — 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Today, we come to the end of another year. Many will celebrate throughout the day and night and welcome in the new year. However, soon we will all go back to life as usual. We have spent the last month looking at the season of Advent, which is the time of year when Christians look back and remember the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also the time of year when we should look forward to Christ’s future return. It was the first coming that made our salvation possible. It is the second that will bring it to completion.

After spending all of these days thinking about Jesus and what his coming means to us, let us not simply forget and go back to “normal life” until next December. Let us be like Paul who wrote the letter of Philippians. Paul sought to make the truths of the gospel his every-day reality. He knew he could not go back to what he was before, because Jesus had changed everything. Instead, Paul pressed “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He made the pursuit of Christ and the salvation that comes through him, his primary goal. There are so many things that can demand our focus, but Paul tells us that our focus should be on the truths of the gospel. Jesus Christ was born into the world, he died for sinners, and he rose from the grave victorious over sin and death. All who trust in what Christ has done and not in their own righteousness, will be saved. Let us live out that truth today and every day.

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