TO CHEW ON: "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14
On this third Sunday of Advent, I see in Paul's words one of the advent season's main themes: HOPE (even though the word is not mentioned).
Paul finds HOPE:
- because he doesn't have to depend on himself ("the flesh") but can put his confidence in Jesus - Philippians 3:2,3.
- because knowing Christ and not outward law-keeping, has become the focus of his faith - Philippians 3:4-8.
- because "in Christ" he is right with God - Philippians 3:9.
- because through knowing Christ he has power (but has also put himself on the path of suffering—perhaps not so hopeful, but realistic) - Philippians 3:10.
- because he can look forward to being raised from the dead, as Christ was - Philippians 3:10,11.
- because his life has a goal: "… the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 3:12-15.
- because he can look forward to a heavenly home and a transformed body - Philippians 3:20,21.
If you were writing today about the things that give you hope, what would your list include? Any of the above? Let's pause in the December busyness and reflect on HOPE and how different our lives would be—how hopeless—if Jesus hadn't come to earth.
"Come Thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of ev'ry nation,
Joy of ev'ry longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a Child, and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne."
- Charles Wesley
MORE: Third Sunday of Advent
Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. The day's liturgy begins with this collect:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.