St. Paul, the Self-Help Guru
It is, very possibly, the greatest three step self-help speech ever given. I don’t think St. Paul thought of it that way, but I read it that way.
This Sunday’s reading from Philippians sums it up beautifully. Click here to read it.
First, he puts his past in perspective. He doesn’t beat himself up over a misspent youth. He acknowledges that he has done some things well, at least in human eyes. But he recognizes that this is for naught. Faith in Jesus doesn’t require us to see all our lives as filthy rags, but to see it all as of little worth compared to knowing Him. It is not so much our worthlessness as His infinite worth!
Second, he puts knowing Christ above all else. “I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” When the top priorities are clear, everything else falls into place.
Finally, he puts his future in perspective. He’s not there yet. “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own.” He knows this is a journey. He’s not going to beat himself up for not having it all together. But nothing will dissuade him from pursuing Christ and he knows that is all that really matters.
“This one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
What are you pressing toward? Or, perhaps a little more challenging: Examine how your spend your time, energy and assets, then ask what would a detached observer conclude you are pressing toward?
This column was published in the April 7, 2019 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.