One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press
on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Once you have accepted Christ as your Savior, that is just the beginning of seeking God. Paul seems to have had a consuming passion to get to know Jesus better and better, and to push on to win a prize on the day of Jesus’ return.
- We must keep pressing on to forget what lies behind. Some people are chained to their past. They might be 50 years old, but they talk about their childhood as if it were yesterday. This is especially true if there are issues with bitterness or unresolved issues. Some people can’t forgive themselves and that keeps them looking behind. In 2 Timothy 2:8 Paul urges, “Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead.” Looking at Jesus keeps our eyes focused on what is ahead, leaving our past to Him.
- We must keep pressing on to get to know Jesus. In Philippians 3:8 Paul wrote that he counted everything as loss, all of his great achievements, “because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Colossians 2:3 tells us that all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. That means that if I want to know things and to have wisdom, I should get to know Jesus better. It is like coming to the end of the Internet–you won’t get there. His treasures are inexhaustible! And Jeremiah 33:3 promises, “Call onto Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”
- We must keep pressing on to what is ahead–the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. There are rewards for running hard after Jesus, as opposed to just living a ho hum Christian life. Paul continually refers to “the day of Christ,” and that was his motivation for risking life and limb to tell others about Jesus. He “had his eyes on the prize.” Here is 2 Timothy 4:7-8 as an example: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me, in the future, the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me; and not to me only, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”
- We must keep pressing on to finish well. I have known people with grand plans. They launch them with a flurry and a shout, but then die out when they hit a snag or when their enthusiasm wanes. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s really not how we start that matters, but how we finish. In Colossians 1:29 Paul wrote that he proclaimed Christ with “all of His energy that powerfully worked in him.” We need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to live our lives well and to do the things that life demands. Ask God for His strength and energy each day.