In Philippians 3:12 Paul says, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” To me, this is the great mystery of where God’s work in our lives and our own effort and choices beautifully intertwine. If you are a believer in Jesus, He has taken hold of you. But we also see that we have a part to play as well—to use our energies to go after what He’s taken hold of us for. In Paul’s case, Jesus had taken hold of him to be a light to the Gentiles and Paul was using his energy to fulfill that mission.
I often talk with women who aren’t sure if God has a purpose for their lives, and I’ve wondered the same thought at different times in my life. It’s helpful to begin with the truth in the first part of Paul’s statement: Christ has taken hold of you for a purpose. Since He has taken hold of you, you are connected to Him and He is connected to you. Rest in that reality. And rest in God’s complete work.
The second part of the statement is where our efforts and action come in: pressing on to take hold of our calling. A friend of mine recently shared about how he encourages to people to discover their calling or purpose. He said, “serve to seek”. In other words, if you are trying to seek out your calling, begin by serving first and that will help you in the seeking process. Jump in by serving in the nursery, or chairing that board, leading a bible study, taking care of the elderly, visiting the sick, taking the class. By doing so, we discover where our giftings are (and aren’t), what we’re passionate about (and not), what we love (and don’t). As we serve we seek and God shows the way.
So much is vying for our time, but our best and eternal efforts are the ones for which Christ has already taken hold of us. Believe He’s taken hold of you and work with everything you have to go after what He’s lovingly taken hold of you for.
Dear Lord, Thank you for this new week. Thank you for the gifts and passions you’ve given me. Help me to discover how best to use them for you. Help me to embrace my purpose!
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