My passion is to be consumed with him... 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. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. Philippians 3:9a,12-14
The apostle Paul was admittedly a passionate man. But what does that mean? Dictionary.com defines passionate as “having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling.” In other words, a passionate person has fervor and drive. Some people are passionate about winning; they will do whatever it takes, walk over whoever gets in their way, display superiority in every way. Perhaps you’ve known someone like that - or know someone like that now. Perhaps that someone is even you!!!!
Paul wasn’t that way in his passion. He suffered beatings and imprisonment; he went without food and sleep; he walked miles and miles and spent hours in prayer. That’s because his passion wasn’t a “thing”; it was a Who!!! Paul’s passion was Jesus. Everything he said and did and desired and pursued had its end in Jesus! It was for this reason he was able to declare to the Corinthian church:
We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 VOICE)
In our passage today we see how Paul was able to continue on with such passion: “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.” Paul’s focus wasn’t on what he needed to overcome. His focus was on where he was going - Who he was going for!!
Jesus was his prize. The past was the past. All of the sins he’d committed when he thought he was perfect are behind him. He chose to leave them behind for the greater pursuit - that of Christ Himself. The victory-prize of which Paul speaks in verse 14 is that of pure union with Jesus; Jesus is the treasure for which our hearts all long! Paul pursues that with wild abandon, though he admits he has a long way to go and can’t do it by himself. But he doesn’t have to go it alone. God has provided Holy Spirit to accompany him, has placed fellow believers with him who can encourage him. Paul recognizes this and embraces it!
Do you pursue Jesus with your whole heart? Do you let the past rest in the past? Do you submit to the Holy Spirit for strength and power in the struggle? The prize (Jesus) is so worth it!!!! Don’t let past failures bring you down. Don't’ let others steal your joy. Partner with someone who is pursuing Jesus with wild abandon. Join the pursuit. It will change you forever!