Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:13–14
When my friend John Collins, who is one of our pastors at Harvest Christian Fellowship, met Billy Graham for the first time, he thanked him for his faithfulness to the Lord.
Billy Graham replied, “I wish I could have done more.”
John thought, If Billy Graham says that, what about me?
Billy Graham wasn’t saying that to be humble. He really meant it. And that shows he is a real man of God, because he realizes he has so far to go.
The apostle Paul felt the same way. He said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). Here was one of the greatest Christians in human history saying that he had not arrived spiritually. He was saying he had so far to go.
Talk about bragging rights. Can you imagine a bunch of guys getting together and hanging out with Paul?
One guy might say, “Hey, you know what? The Lord spoke through me today.”
Another might say, “Well, the Lord led me to share my faith.”
Paul could say, “Well, God gave me inspired letters, called the Epistles, which basically take up half of the Bible.” Okay. Who can top that? But in actuality, Paul never said things like that, although it was the reality of his life. He was so close to God. And if anyone could rest on his laurels, it would have been Paul.
Many Christians are self-satisfied because they compare themselves with other Christians. But that isn’t what they ought to be doing. If the apostle Paul could say of his life, “Not that I have already attained,” then certainly we all have a long way to go.