I am beginning to view Philippians 3 from a new perspective. To be apprehended by God should not be taken lightly or treated frivolously. Jesus Christ has “taken hold of” my life and determines my course of action.
I work part time as a guard for the local police force. In my job, I have the privilege of seeing mankind both at its worst and its best. Where darkness dwells, the Light shines all the more brightly. I only get called to work when someone has been “apprehended,”
arrested and brought into custody,
usually handcuffed and sometimes shackled,
locked behind bars,
removed from freedom
and detained until further notice.
In the New International Bible Version, Philippians 3:12 states, “Christ Jesus took hold of me.” This week an acquaintance pointed out a different, more accurate, translation:
“Not as though I have already attained,
either were already perfect;
but I follow after, if indeed I may apprehend
that for which also I am
apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
Somehow, to me, the word “apprehend” sounds much more forceful than “took hold.” It makes me sit up and take notice, almost like when my Dad wanted to get my attention about a serious matter. I think, that’s the point! That word “apprehend” means to “take with force, aggressively attaining, and seizing with eagerness.”
Paul compares it to pursuing the ultimate prize in public sports — the winner’s ribbon attained only through eager, strenuous exertion. It may define how God has “apprehended” me, but does it accurately represent how I am “apprehending” what God has called me to?
“In Christ we can never say “can’t”
to what He called us to do.
We can say that we “will not” or “did not,”
but we can never say we “can not.”
He has given us His strength.”
– Rick Joyner
It is all too easy to get caught up in the daily swirl of activity. But that busyness can distract us from the main thing, the ultimate purpose, for our being apprehended by God.
Connie Inglis of Inscribe Christians Writers provided the inspiration for this blog. She encouraged us as writers to press into our call to blog, journal, publish and compose.
“Brothers and sisters,
I do not consider myself yet
to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,”
I wholeheartedly agree with Paul. I have not yet “taken hold of it.” As a matter of fact, there are times when I am downright resistant to the process of “seizing, straining and taking by force.” At times I even prefer to run in the opposite direction from the call of God on my life.
Only weeks ago, my Heavenly Father grabbed me again but the proverbial cuff of the neck and in no uncertain terms reminded me, “What I have called you to, is impossible for you. You CANNOT do it! But I CAN! Will you let me?”
Somewhere in the process, I erroneously began to think the call of God was somehow mine — up to me to fulfill. I was cowering under the misplaced weight of responsibility. I needed the reminder that it was and is never about me. It is and always will be about Him. He alone can fulfill His destiny for my life.
He does ask for my willingness — my “Yes, Lord.”
So before God set my feet on the ground again, I did just that. Honestly, I am grateful for the attitude adjustment. Thankfully, He loves enough to provide it. Now I can get back to the “one thing” He has called me to — share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Being apprehended by God cannot be taken lightly.
It impossible to safely operate a vehicle while continuously looking in the rear view mirror. The distraction will ultimate lead to a collision in some way, shape or form. By looking ahead, one’s focus remains on the “one thing” that God has called us each to do. Know your destination. The destination will determine your route.
“…But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,”
Our goal is to “apprehend that for which also I am apprehended.” I am apprehended by God to share biblical truth in any way possible: writing, speaking, teaching; painting or illustrating. What is your one thing? There is a God call upon your life, What is it? Finance, education, medicine, ministry, or whatever? What have you been apprehended by God to do?
Oswald Chambers wrote the following in “My Utmost For His Highest” (June 28). Wherever there is a blank, insert the one thing God has called you to.
“Never choose to be a _______;
but when once God has put His call on you,
woe be to you if you turn
to the right hand or to the left.
We are not here to ________ for God
because we have chosen to do so,
but because God has apprehended us.
There is never any thought of,
“Oh, well, I am not fitted for this.”
What you are to ________ is determined by God,
not by your own natural inclinations…
when it comes to the call to _______,
there must be the agonizing grip
of God’s hand on you,
your life is in the grip of God
for that one thing.”
Once we sense the seriousness of being apprehended by God and clearly see the purpose of His calling, we press into Him, toward that goal.
“I press on toward the goal
to win the prize for which
God has called me
heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
For this one thing, we press forward We reach toward the goal. We stretch to apprehend (violently taking and possessing) the call of God on our lives. Not for us, our glory or benefit, but for His.
God has no favorites. Every individual is precious to Him. But like in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30), some people have been given little responsibility while others have been given much. We don’t look over our shoulder at the portion of others. We simply honour God with what we have, using it to expand His Kingdom.
What God has for you is good! What He has for me is equally good! When you stand on the heavenly podium to receive your prize, I will applaud your accomplishments. So will multitudes of others.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us.”
Run, stretch, reach and pursue! Your prize awaits! You are an earth changer, a kingdom builder, apprehended by God. A paradox exists within the apprehending. Our agreement to God’s call ultimately sets us on a path of freedom. Here alone will we discover complete satisfaction and an exhilarating life more fulfilling than we could ever have imagined.
The call of God is the key to unlocking multiple doors of opportunity, advancement and adventure. But it also comes with a price — being apprehended by God.