The Comfort of the Scriptures. A Devotional Meditation
by the Rev. David Freeman, Th.M.
[excerpted from Christianity Today, 3.9 (September 1933): 14-15.]
” … I count not myself to have apprehended
. … ” “I press toward the mark.
…. . “-Philippians 3 :13, 14.
How true these words are to the experience of every child of God. They strike a responsive chord in our hearts, especially at the beginning of a new year. These words were uttered after years of devotion to the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ and after much labor for the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul filled his years with suffering and noble effort for his Lord. He did not live merely to pass the time away as do those who live only to spend their years aimlessly and hopelessly.
O, shame upon us if we have lived merely to pass the time! Christ did not live that way. When He came to the end of His course He said, “I have finished the work servant Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.”
But the past with all its devotion and labor is nothing for us to glory in. A Christian can only say after a review of the things that are behind, “I count not myself to have apprehended.” Over the written chapters of our lives we place the word “FAILURE” because it is all so different from, and comes so far short of what God has required of us. In our prayer at the close of this year there should be this confession, “O God we have sinned and come short of thy glory.”
That is the way Paul felt about it. But did Paul need to feel that way in view of his singular devotion to Christ? Yes. The devoutest saint always feels that way because he measures himself with the rule of God’s which thou gavest me to do.” And His true righteousness. Any want of conformity to that is sin and for sin, we stand before God in penitence.
Forgive Lord! How miserably we have failed!
With such a confession upon our lips our souls grasp the Saviour. In the acknowledgement of our unworthiness lies our hope in Christ. The prize is ours because our need of Him is so great. He will give Himself in all His mercy and love us, even as He did to those who pressed toward Him in their infirmities, when He trod among men. We “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Such a going after Christ is not something produced by any form of natural exertion. It is of Christ Himself who worketh in us, “both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
For all the days to come our highest desire is to rest and abide in Christ. This will show itself by our walking before the Lord in holiness.
Christ will accept a resolve of faith like that and bring to ultimate victory the issues of such a life.
“Lord, Thy mercy still entreating,
We with shame our sins would own,
From henceforth, the time redeeming,
May we live to Thee alone.”