The apostle Paul speaking to the Philippian church:
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Philippians 3:10 ( KJV)
know – “ginosko”- to understand and follow
power – “dunamis”- miraculous strength or ability; which by implication is a miracle in itself
resurrection – ” anastasis” – the physical rising again and the recovery of spiritual truth
fellowship of his sufferings – partnership or participation in Christ’s experience and/or pain as He was crucified
conformable – “summorphoo” – like/similar to
So Paul is saying we are to understand and follow Jesus; so much so that we exhibit the miraculous ability of His rising; we partner in His experience and pain at the cross, and become as He was when He died.
Not many of us want to go there. We just want our “drive-thru” God to take away all of our pain and make things easy and smooth and nice. Think again. Paul says if we are to know Jesus, we will need to get our hands dirty, and actually feel and experience some of His pain and suffering. My mind doesn’t want to go there, which is probably why we are exhorted in Romans 12:2 ( …but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind….) to renew our minds. (Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.)
Paul goes on to say in Philippians 3, verse 13:
“Brethren ( Ladies, this includes you, too!), I count myself not to have apprehended ( achieved), but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth( forward) unto those things which are before( ahead),
verse 14: I press( a prolonged form of pursue) toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul says: “this one thing I do”.
That makes it sound like he does this “thing” to the exclusion of all other things.
What is he doing??
Verse 14 answers that question; he is “pressing”(pursuing consistently) in the direction of the mark (goal) for the prize (achievement) of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
What is “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” ??
There are two different Greek words used for called/calling; one is “klesis” and means invitation; the other is “kaleo”, and means called out by name or assignment. There is a “calling”( klesis-invitation) to come to Christ Jesus and receive the salvation and redemption he’s provided for us. Everyone who is “invited” and accepts the invitation ( becomes born again), also has a specific assignment ( kaleo-assignment) and is called out by name for their specific purpose in life. So we are called and we have a calling.
See also: 1Cor 1:24…….but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks….
Eph 1:18……..the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know
what is the hope of his calling…….
2Thess 1:11…….wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count
you worthy of this calling……
2Tim 1:9……..who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling…… ( this verse uses
both meanings of the word)
Heb 3:1……….Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, …….
I invite you to read these verses in full, and in the context that they were written in, to get the full meaning and importance of the message of our calling to follow Jesus.
Let’s go on to read further in Philippians 3………
Verse 15: “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded, and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
The word perfect in this context means “complete in mental growth or mature”. It implies spiritual maturity or the process of becoming spiritually mature. Thus minded is what Paul is talking about in verse 14 ( pursuing the high calling of God). Those believers that are spiritually mature (or becoming so), are to encourage others to press forward into the completion and perfection of their salvation. Paul says that if we are not focused on that goal, and the encouragement of that goal, then God himself will reveal it to us. We are to forget everything behind us (what we came from and who we were before Jesus called us); the sin of the past; all the mistakes, blunders, and the ways we used to do things, and focus on our salvation in Jesus. We are to focus on his invitation to be His, and our specific assignment, to which we are called by name.
Walk towards Jesus and encourage others to do so as well.
James 4:8 ……..Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Point everyone in the direction of Jesus. He’s waiting.