Isaac Newton was supposedly sitting under an apple tree and saw an apple fall to the ground. It was then that he asked himself, “what made the apple fall down rather than staying in space or going up”? I am not sure if it really happened just like that, but it did send men on a search for the power of gravity. Gravity is what keeps your feet on the ground and keeps your vehicle on the road. Things do not float but are locked in place by gravity.

 Have you watched the launch of an Apollo mission? The rocket sits in the ground, locked onto its launching pad, held securely by the power of gravity. Then, the rockets roar to life and through sheer force, tons of weight are lifted off the earth. The power of gravity is overcome by the power of powerful rockets that launch all that tonnage into space. Then something magical happens. As the rockets sends all that tonnage beyond the force of earths gravity, another force begins to pull that rocket. A negative force that held the spaceship on the earth is now overcome. Now the spaceship is being pulled by another force, and the spaceship goes into orbit, out of the force that held it on the ground.

Can we compare that to life? There are forces in each of our lives that seek to pull us back. I want to soar with the eagles, but I find myself bound to the earth. There are forces that hold me where I am, and though I wish to break the powers that hold me, I cannot overcome them. I ask, does life push you or have you found a greater power that pulls you?  We can be pushed by the daily grind of life and all it demands of us, or we can be pulled by a greater ideal to attain what is now a dream but can become a reality.

Some may say, this is merely the power of positive thinking, and dismiss it as a bit of religious psychology, But I ask you to listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3. Beginning in verse 4, he mentions all the things that could hold him fast to a previous lifestyle. He was a perfect Jew. He was circumcised on the eighth day as all Jewish men were. He was of the prestigious tribe of Benjamin. He called himself a Hebrew of all Hebrews. He was a Pharisee, the pinnacle of Jewish attainment of religious fervor. He was a zealous Jew, even to the persecution of those who were not living by Mosaic Law. He calls himself blameless, which can become a religious attainment in itself.

Then, he starts verse 7 with one of those outstanding words, “but”. Paul had been pretty well locked into a religious system that controlled his life. He was pushed by the expectation of Jewish perfection. But the day came when all that he thought was a positive in his life, he throws in the garbage can. He says in verse 8, “all the things that I thought were positives in my life, I found them to be worth nothing, so I threw them all away”. Paul was being “pushed” to be what he thought was the peak of Jewish attainment”. Paul experienced a new “pull” in his life. What was it? “The surpassing value of knowing Christ”. Previously, he was being “pushed” by being a perfect Jew and keeping all the Mosaic law. Now, he was being “pulled” by an entirely new purpose in life. Beginning in verse nine, he lists the things that now began to pull him.
         “That I may be found in Him”
         “That I may know Him”
         “That I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.”

Paul got beyond the force of gravity that held him to strict Jewish and Mosaic Law to the pull of something far greater. Rather than being pushed to be a blameless Jewish Pharisee, he is now being pulled to “be found in Him”. He found a new identity. It was in Christ, not in a lifestyle. Rather than being pushed to know the law, he was being pulled “to know Him”. Rather than being pushed to a life of perfection, he was being pulled to “attain to the resurrection of the dead”. Paul had found something far greater than what he had.

What is it that keeps us stuck on the launching pad? Is it possible to get beyond a life of drudgery and routine? It probably will not be found in a new mate, a new vocation, or more money. What we search for may not necessarily be “out there”, but within. We search for significance. We think so many times that the significance we search for is out there someplace. I am in a restless pursuit for that “something” that will satisfy the search. Perhaps I need to search within. My outside world will only change to the degree that my inside world changes.

Throughout my entire life I have searched for people that I would like to emulate. That is one of the reasons I love biographical reading, especially studying those who have accomplished significant things. In real life I have searched for mentors. I have asked hundreds of questions and searched their lives so I could build their character into my life. However, something happened in life. I have become older. I have conducted the funeral for those who were my mentors. Today I search, but I find very few in front of me. I do not want to be left on the launching pad because the issues of life were greater than the pull of significance. I do not aspire to become like some of the greatest power brokers of our day, but I do search for significance with God. For this reason, Paul’s vulnerability of his own search for significance has drawn me to these verses in Philippians. What it was that launched Paul can be an example to me. Now, it is my turn to find my significance in Christ and to be pulled by a power that is sufficient to keep my ship in orbit until Jesus comes. My goal is that I may be found in Him, that I may know Him, that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead. Those things pull me, even though the men who I could physically see are no longer here, God, by his Holy Spirit pulls me. The energy is released inside me, not from without.

So, I ask, are you being pushed by what life demands of you or are you being pulled by an inner power that is greater than any outer force? The Apollo rocket would still be sitting on the launch pad, were it not for a power that overcame the force of gravity. Newton would not be able to eat the apple that fell from the tree were it not for the power of gravity. It makes me ask, are you being pushed or are you being pulled?

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