“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:12
Your only claim on God is His claim on you.
This thought occurred to me recently, and I scribbled it down on a piece of paper, thinking there was more here than the obvious truth that “we love him because he first loved us” (1 Jno. 4:19). As Charles Spurgeon said, “There will be no doubt about His having chosen you, when you have chosen Him.” But I think it goes farther than this.
We have all met people who claim to have and know God, yet their lives reflect merely a passing acquaintance. Paul says in Philippians that He had been “apprehended” by Christ, and because of that, he was constantly striving to lay hold, as it were, on all that this means, (“…that for which I also am apprehended of Christ Jesus”). Why does God lay claim on an individual, in the first place? He tells us plainly in John 15:16a. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”
What I’m saying here is that the only justification for anyone to claim that he or she “has God” is an indication that God has him or her. I can claim to be related to Queen Elizabeth II, but if I live in abject poverty, you would have reason to question my claim, would you not?
Paul characterized himself as following after Christ, and this goes hand in glove with John 10:27. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Jesus called Himself the “good shepherd,” and characterized mankind as sheep. An apt metaphor, for many reasons. You and I talk about black sheep, but the Bible doesn’t. It only talks about His sheep and ones who are lost and gone astray. These the Shepherd goes after, calling them out personally, by name. If they truly belong to Him, He says, they will hear His voice and follow. Not the voice of a stranger, only His (v. 5).
In a precious verse in Song of Solomon, the Shepherd tells his lover that if she wants to find Him, she only needs to trace “the footsteps of the flock” (1:7-8). The footsteps will always lead to the Shepherd, and the footsteps of a true believer may be hesitant and slow, even wobbly, but they will always be following the Savior.
There is an old Dallas Holm song that says, “Jesus got ahold o’ my life, and He won’t let me go.” That pretty well says it. When God gets hold of a man or woman, boy or girl, He doesn’t let go. And if you or I just cannot get away from His claim on our lives, no matter how much we are tempted and fail, it’s a good sign we’ve been “apprehended” by Grace. God has reached down His omnipotent, loving hand and said, “Gotcha!”