“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.”
In the 1800’s tens of thousands of people moved west to the frontier lands of the United States in order to ‘stake their claim’. People would literally take a pointed stake and stick it into a piece of land they could legally call their own. Claim staking was made popular in the California gold rush of 1849, and the Oklahoma land rush of 1889, but it’s probably always been around in one form or another as people have marked their territory. Today it’s an idiomatic expression saying you have ownership of something.
St. Paul knew that just like a piece of land belonged to the one who laid claim to it, he belonged to Jesus Christ. Paul was no longer his own master; Jesus had “laid hold” of him. In other words, Jesus had “staked his claim” on Paul. And Paul knew Jesus had a rightful claim. Jesus bought him with a price, and the price was His life, paid for with His blood.
That price, paid for Paul, is the price paid for all who come to Christ. However, we must come to Him freely. Jesus is not a claim jumper. You see, each of us is born with a free will. But in our freedom we still are not our own master, for sin has mastery over us. We can’t break free of sin’s mastery without help, and the only one who can help us is Jesus. He paid our price, and will stake His claim on ours, if we let Him.
Who holds the claim to your life? How you live tells the story. Jesus wants to lay claim to your life. He wants to bring His resurrection power within you and bring victory to your life, but He only enters in where He’s invited. Remember, Jesus isn’t a claim jumper, and also remember, Christ is risen…and so are you!
Grace & Peace,
Lord Jesus, I am your child, and I thank you for laying hold of me. Forgive me for the times I have acted like a claim jumper and tried to take back control of my life. Amen. Alleluia!