Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3: 13f.
Yesterday we read: Alone Jesus’ grace is sufficient … And today we read: We should strive with all our strength to pursue the goal. Now, what? Be gifted with or seek it with force?
It is not an either-or question, but a as-well-as.
In the Bible there are many such "logical" inconsistencies, for example, that God is one and yet three. We cannot always quite grasp that. But we believe that it makes sense, because Jesus tells us.
A well-known man once said: I work as if everything depends on me, and I pray as if everything depends on my prayers.
We can understand it that way.
A farmer makes every effort to make his fruit thrive. He has to plow, harrow and sow. Yet he cannot make it rain, cannot make the sun shine or make the plants grow. He is, whether he knows it or not, dependent on the Creator. Without the work of the farmer, there is no harvest, and without the blessing of God, nothing would grow.
We are fully at the mercy of God, if we want to go to heaven. And we must strive to get to heaven with all our strength.
But our ambition is not a "must". We surrender ourselves completely to Jesus and go his way. We are fighting against our old, big, fat “ME”, that is comfortable and lazy or full of worries, fears and self-pity, full of greed, pride and envy. We fight for the righteousness of God here on earth. We are fighting in prayer for the souls of non-Christians. We strive for more, more of Jesus, more of the Holy Spirit, more peace of mind, more joy, more power … We strive laboriously forward on the narrow path of life and do not walk on the wide, easy path of death.
I once read a book of biographies of heroes of God, from the early church to the present day. And it was almost boring, as the biographies were all alike. The men and women of God worked tirelessly for the gospel, and they took a lot of time for Bible reading and prayer, meditation, contemplation and reflection on God. That shaped them.
Thank you, Jesus, you have opened the heaven for me and made me a child of God. Now I want to strive with all my strength to give you honour and become more like you. By your grace we will succeed!
Bible reading today. John 21.15 to 25