Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing
I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth
unto those things which are before. (Philippians 3:13)
Can you believe we’re in the second month of the new year?
What have you been up to, my friend?
I’ve been praying for a study I could sink my teeth into. Not just a sweet morsel or a piece of fluff but a thick juicy piece of meat to spark my synapses and grow my spirit kind of study.
But until recently, I had been so busy with life—and its heartaches—I didn’t have the time or the chance to be alone. So, I am thankful for last month’s opportunity to settle in and grow in understanding. To reach for a “that” and make it a “this.”
The idea of “this” and “that” has been with me for over 30 years after hearing a message. I can’t remember everything the minister said except “this” and “that” is necessary to move forward. The Lord has brought me back to the idea many times to help me understand the seasons in my life.
So what is the point behind this and that? I’m so glad you asked!
A “that” is the next step in our spiritual journey. The next victory we’re believing for—and expecting—God to give us. It is the answer to our petitions if we pray for God’s will.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (1 John 5:14-15 KJV)
Notice John said, “according to his will.” That should be the pattern for our prayer life. It isn’t a name-it-and-claim-it lifestyle. It’s a sold-out-I-surrender-all-not-my-will-but-Yours-be-done lifestyle. Without that mindset and faith, we will never turn a “this” into a “that.”
This and That
When speaking of this and that, we could also say here and there. This being here. That being there.
A “this” is a truth we possess. It is what we know. Our comfort zone.
A “that” is what we’ve yet to achieve. It is the invisible in our lives waiting to be discovered.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
In the opening scripture above, Paul forgets those things behind him and reaches for things before because he wants his life to become the story of Jesus. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
To be like Jesus.
We can’t know the overflowing power of his resurrection unless we daily conform to his death. Do we want to know the fellowship of his sufferings? Hard question, I know. Yet Paul was in prison for his beliefs. He did not complain. Instead, he penned letters to encourage the believers.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend “that” for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended… (v. 12 parentheses added)
Wow! When I think of what Paul had been through, what he had done for the Lord, it’s hard to imagine him saying there is more.
…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (v. 13)
Paul knew there was more, and he wanted it.
Like Paul, we are apprehended to bring glory to the Father through Christ the Son. To be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him. An obedient servant doing the will of God our Father.
In this new year, will you remain in your comfort zone or press into the unknown to apprehend even more of Him? To trade a “this” for His “that.”
Before you answer, did you notice the picture? THAT looks bigger than THIS. But it’s not. The font on THAT is 42 percent. The font on THIS is 50 percent. Often, our present THIS looks smaller than our future THAT, making our task seem almost impossible. But God is always with us. Cross that bridge of faith, my friend, and claim all the spiritual blessings He has for you!
Father, may we press toward the mark and claim by faith that which you are calling us to. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen