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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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ONE THING I DO

One ThingIndeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8 ESV)

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But 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 upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)

If you happened to see the movie “City Slickers,” you may remember this discussion between the characters Mitch (unhappy city boy) and Curly (hard-nosed, grizzled cowboy):

Curly: “Do you know what the secret of life is?” [Holds up one finger]
Curly: “This.”
Mitch: “Your finger?”
Curly: “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean [crude expletive].”
Mitch: “But, what is the ‘one thing?’”
Curly: [smiles] “That’s what *you* have to find out.”

Curly’s speech has the ring of conviction to it. For myself, I believe that knowing your purpose in life gives you a powerful advantage.  So, what is your “one thing”? In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, this question is asked in a universal way: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is given: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” In these brief words, the “one thing” for all mankind is specified: Man’s “one thing” is glorifying God and enjoying Him for all eternity.

In verses 12-14 above, Paul reveals much about himself. He is referring back to verse 8. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8 ESV) He goes on in verse 12 to write, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” The Phillips translation renders this verse, “Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have ‘arrived’, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me.” This is Paul’s “one thing”.

As Christians, it should be our “one thing” when performing the various callings (vocations) of our lives. Just like runners in a race, the Christian’s spiritual life is to focus on only “one thing” – pressing on toward the goal for the prize. Paul believed in election, but he believed in an election which caused a human effort to gain Christ and perfection in Him (progressive sanctification). Although a Christian cannot gain complete sanctification in this life, he can make progress and it is only in Jesus Christ that this is possible.

Think of perfect joy, perfect peace, perfect companionship, holiness and eternal life enjoyed in the presence of Jesus and all of His saints to the glory of God. This is the “upward call”, the holy calling, the call to a sanctified life. Do you, my fellow Christian, desire this “one thing”? We are still very far from moral-spiritual perfection and we all must persist if we are to reach the goal set before us.

Samuel at Gilgal

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this, Samuel. It’s a beautiful thought that one day we will ‘arrive’ as it were – to our John 14 homes that He is preparing; to complete rest in Christ and to all manner of joys, unspeakable.

    Hebrews 12:22 – But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,

    That should keep us going!

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  2. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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