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Take Hold

November 6, 2021 | by: Tom Kruggel | 0 comments

take-holdTo have and to lose, or to have not and to gain? To which is better, or to which is worse? Those snug in what they have often tussle to let loose. And those unaware of what they have not often welcome what they increase. We live much of life with a hand, so to speak – continuously grasping or letting go of what comes within reach. What we grip and how tightly we ought to grip it requires muscles that are supernaturally both controlled and dexterous.

Now is a time and a season of wrestling with this - wrestling to let go and wrestling to clench. This is particularly true for us who live in this modern, western world where much in life has seen far more abundance than many of our forefathers or cross-continent kin. Access to the “essentials” have been readily reachable, perhaps more than any generation preceding us.

For many (certainly not all), employment, education, health care, transportation, shelter, food, clothing and, even, leisure have relatively been in stress-free supply. And when culturally adopted with the American declaration of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, [United States Declaration of Independence] human existence has known few, if any, historical comparables. We know this human experience represents but a small portion of the world’s people, while the other has known a juxtaposed life of frequent sickness, isolation, cold and heat, starvation and rags, leaving them with a penned-in being of suffering. We in this opposite way of life pray for those on the other, and ironically those in the other pray for us on this. Both prayers are needed.

Tom_edited-1Things are not the way they used to be (and for that matter, they never really are). God’s hand upon many of us is prying away our hold on much of what was at an uncomfortable pace. And no matter how tightly we grasp, some of what we once knew and became accustomed to seems to be forever slipping away, and we wonder whether we’ll ever get it back. We want it back, but do we want it back? All of it?

We Christians must ask because as what once was disappears our heads are being drawn to no longer look down at what’s in our hands, but to tilt them up to what’s been “prepared for them that love him”. [I Corinthians 2:9b (KJV)] Perhaps much of this is a severe mercy for us who sometimes forget that we always possessed everything we ever needed for “life and godliness.” [ II Peter 1:3a (ESV)] What else, really, could we want or ask?  

So, to help relax our grip on things horizontal and temporal in this life, especially now, perhaps a quick, six-point (but unexhaustive) inventory of what we vertically hold by faith in Christ (that which can never be loosed) is in order:

  • We Have Forgiveness (“… your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake”. – I John 2:12b, NASB).  We may have once thought we didn’t require forgiveness, but what we really were was deceived and absent of truth. [cf. I John 1:8]
  • We Have Righteousness (“… 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-” – Philippians 3:9, ESV).  We may have once thought we were righteous, but what we really needed was to be cleansed “from all unrighteousness”. [I John 1:9c (KJV)]
  • We Have Love (“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” I John 3:1a, ESV).  We may have once thought we were greatly loved, but what we really had was a love that’s now been far surpassed. [cf. John 15:13]
  • We Have Peace (“… since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:1, ESV).  We may have once thought we were at peace, but what we really were was an enemy against our Holy God. [cf. Romans 5:10a]
  • We Have Life (“I came that they may have life…” – John 10:10b, ESV).  We may have once thought we had life, but what we really had was death. [cf. Ephesians 2:1]
  • We Have Hope (“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable…” – Hebrews 6:19a, NASB).  We may have once thought we held hope, but what we really held was disappointment. [cf. Romans 5:5]

So…, to have and to lose, or to have not and to gain? Much has been had and, of late, much has no doubt been lost. But ever so more, much was never had, and even more was gained. The difference? The former was in our hands, and the latter in His hands by which He’s handed to us (by grace, through faith, in Christ). With all that’s vanished over the last two years, and there’s been much, let’s look up and take hold now more than ever of that which can never be taken away – forgiveness, righteousness, love, peace, life and hope in Jesus.  

“Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature, let’s have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that to you as well; however, let’s keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”
[Philippians 3:12-16 (NASB)] - The Apostle Paul

Thomas Kruggel is a non-vocational Elder at Grace Bible Church and works in The City of San Francisco

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