This past week, as I was preparing my sermon from Philippians 3:12-16, I discovered these beautifully-crafted words from an old Baptist pastor from the early 1900s. Commenting on the apostle’s expressed desire to fully apprehend Christ because it was Christ who first apprehended him, F. B. Meyer writes,
Paul realized that his conversion had been his apprehension by God. To hear some men speak you would suppose that the initiative in their religious life had come from themselves, that the first approaches toward God emanated from their own hearts, that they were independent of Him until they voluntarily put themselves within the range of His care and help. Nothing could be further from the truth. As well might the flower speak of discovering the sunshine and turning its face [thereabouts]. The initiative of the religious life does not come from man but from God. The first steps in reconciliation are not on our side but on His. If we seek God it is only because He has been seeking us from early childhood, and has contrived the span of our life and the location of our home with special reference to our feeling after Him and finding Him (Acts 17: 26-27).
When a man turns to God, the first thing he realizes is that throughout the wild wanderings of his youth, and amid all the fret and war of his manhood, even when he has been most stubborn and rebellious, God’s love has never ceased to seek him….We love because we were first loved; we seek because we were sought; we leave our far country, not only because hunger impels, but because frequent missives from our Father’s house tell us that He cannot be at rest until we are again seated at His table.
(F. B. Meyer, Devotional Commentary on Philippians)