Paul’s passion for the ministry, his passion for souls, is amazing. He wanted Christ glorified so much he was willing to give up so much in his life to make sure the way was clear to Christ. It was not about his rights. It was about others being able to see Christ as clearly as possible.
The metaphor of “winning” was not for him as individual. It was for the glory of Christ. If others are coming to Christ, and they aren’t stumbling over him… he wins. Run to win.
24 Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. 25 Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. 26 So now this is how I run—not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. 27 Rather I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others. (1 Cor. 9:24-27, CEB)
My teaching has focused on the Book of Acts and Philippians due to my teaching schedule at college and my ministry at the church. This week I brought together Saul’s conversion and the beautiful passage out of Philippians 3 where Paul cries out: “I want to know Christ!”
I will not do justice to the Philippians 3 passage in my Sunday message because the focus is on the conversion. Saul, an enemy of the Church, is totally apprehended by Christ. He is not seeking Christ! He does not care for Christ! Yet, Jesus stops him cold and yanks him out of the enemy camp. What grace!
Jesus doesn’t judge him. He CALLS him! He appoints this enemy to the greatest task facing the Church at the time: reaching the Gentiles.
Blogging does not allow for the length of thought I have been developing on this subject over the past few weeks. But I wanted to write SOMETHING down! I need to know this sense of being truly apprehended by Christ. I also long for the passion Paul pours out in Philippians 3. His longing to know Christ and apprehend him is deep. What a lifelong joy! My prayer is the Lord would carry ME into that joy and I would undertake that passionate pursuit of Christ as well.