“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12 (CSB)
Do you find it so much easier to give advice to others than it is to live by those same words you give out? I’ve found myself thinking many times after a phone call with a friend: Did those words of wisdom really come from me? Wow! Maybe I should follow that advice too!
Admittedly, it can feel a little hypocritical at times — needing the very same advice I’m giving out — but I don’t think God sees it that way at all. He knows that even when we believe in His Word, there are times we don’t hold on to it as tightly as we should, times when we worry and doubt, more than we pray.
But I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the church of Philippi. He said in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.”
Paul had shared so many instructions with them on humility, unity and knowing God, and then right there in verse 12, he lets them know he still hadn’t reached the goal himself!
That verse gives me hope.
While I have godly advice to share and wise words for friends at times, I know we’re all working through this together. None of us has arrived. The key, as Paul pointed out in Philippians, is to remain humble. There will be times when our actions don’t measure up to the Christlike advice we give out, but we keep pushing to reach the goal. God’s Word is still life’s perfect blueprint, even when we fall short.
Paul made every effort to take hold of the goal of knowing God because Christ had taken hold of him. He’s talking about that in-between state where we, as believers, reside. Yes, Jesus has captured our hearts! Yes, we want to share Him with others! But even in our sharing, we’re still seeking to know God.
Friend, keep sharing Christ. Keep using His words to advise and console. For He is the very best we have to offer. Will we miss the mark at times? Sure, but that’s okay as long as we don’t stop seeking Him. God knows our influence doesn’t come from a place of perfection. Rather, it’s our victory over brokenness and our battle scars that say to those around us, “I know you’ll make it if you follow God — because that’s what helps me to overcome every day.”
Maybe you’ve found yourself giving advice on trusting God while secretly worrying about so many things in your own life. Or maybe you’ve told others about the importance of a personal relationship with God, but you’re not prioritizing Him in your own day-to-day life.
Realize the flaw, and keep trying.
When we stand on God’s Word, despite not exactly living up to it, we walk in faith. We tell the world that this Jesus who changed our lives is still working in us, using our imperfections to draw others to Himself.
Dear Jesus, help me to see I’m Your vessel for impacting the world around me. I will never be perfect enough to represent You, and You don’t need me to be. Help me to trust You with my weaknesses, knowing You can use them for Your greater plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” (CSB)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Do you ever come down too hard on yourself for your shortcomings? What are some areas where you need to give yourself a little more grace?
Can you commit those areas to God and trust Him to use them for His glory?
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