“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” (Philippians 3:12, ESV).
Anyone half-familiar with the Apostle Paul would agree that he was a driven man. No one suffers the types of abuses Paul suffered unless he really, truly believes in what he is doing. Having rocks thrown at you, being imprisoned, getting shipwrecked — these are not for the faint of heart.
But what motivated Paul to keep going? Did you catch the reason in the verse above?
“… but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
We humans are motivated by many different things: fear, pride, guilt, success, ambition, legacy, image, parental expectations, peer pressure, applause, money, rewards.
For Paul, the motivation to continue on came from a deeper, more lasting place. It wasn’t based on external feelings or momentary rewards. For Paul, the motivation was that Jesus had taken ownership of his life. But don’t think of this as a hostile takeover. Instead, it is the loving act of a loving God who is reclaiming one of his own. It is the shepherd who pursues his lost sheep. It is the father who runs to the prodigal son, eager to reinstate his place in the family.
I didn’t pass a test that allowed me entrance into the family of God. Neither did you. Instead, God acted through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to make those who would believe in Jesus his own.
Now, that should motivate anyone!