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An exceptional Christian life doesn’t look like a perfect life, it looks like a pursuing life.

[/ultimate_heading][us_separator height=”20px” size=”custom”][us_sharing providers=”email,facebook,twitter,gplus”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12 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. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.


This passage represents one of scriptures loftiest views of Jesus as well as a life passionately committed to him. It’s inspiring, but if I’m honest it’s somewhat convicting. The question rises up in me, “Do I have the same passion Paul has?” Then, I read on. Verse twelve seems to let me off the hook – or does it?

It’s a huge relief to know the Apostle Paul claims to be a work in process too. Paul writes this in the later part of his life. And, if Paul’s still not perfect, it makes me feel better about my imperfections. As reassuring as that is, some might see Paul lowering the bar of perfection here. But, Paul’s aim is NOT to lower the high bar of perfection in Jesus. His aim is to redefine the goal. Even in his old age, Paul retains a youthful drive toward perfection, but he also doesn’t live in the clouds. Paul strains while knowing he’s not perfect.

An exceptional Christian life doesn’t look like a perfect life, it looks like a pursuing life. Paul didn’t become one of Christianity’s most influential people because he was perfect, he was influential because he knew the difference between pursuing Jesus and trying to earn God’s favor. So, are we supposed to strive for perfection or are we supposed to be okay with not being perfect? The answer is both. As Christians, our pursuit of perfection is not mandatory, it’s incidental. Jesus already gave us his perfection. If we try to improve in order to have right standing with God then our pursuit is unnecessary and burdensome. If, instead, we seek to grow because it helps us achieve the true reward of “knowing Christ,” then the pursuit is well placed.

In this passage, Paul retains both a drive to grow in his faith and a clearheaded view of his weakness. Paul resolves to keep growing and we can make a similar resolution. Jonathan Edwards had a similar passion for straining in his imperfection. Read some of his resolutions and write one of your own – not to be perfect, but to continue the journey with Jesus as the reward.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Aaron Bjorklund

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