Growing with God: A daily devotion with Tonia Slimm.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 (MSG)
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
“Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” -AMPLIFIED
The Apostle Paul instructs the Philippians to press on toward the goal of the high calling of Jesus Christ. Work toward it and do not give up. Forget the things that are behind, keep your eye on the prize; for it is a prize that you do not want to lose out on. God is beckoning us onward and upward; literally cheering us on. You may be weary and worn, but press on.
Paul compares the Christian life to a race. Elsewhere in the New Testament he also uses this same imagery. It conveys a few things that we must keep in mind as Christians.
1.) The race will not last forever. It has a set beginning and a set ending. One day we will finish the race and if we are faithful spend Eternity with Jesus.
2.) It is important to give our all, 100% in the race. We want to give our very best for God. One day we will be rewarded for our faithfulness to Him.
3.) We must be sure that our focus stays on the ultimate goal. Be careful lest you become distracted and lose sight of what truly matters. It is very easy to wander from the path that we are on if we are not looking where we are going. Satan is constantly trying to entice us and distract us from what our goal is.
4.) There is no looking back in a race. What is behind us is behind us. We must keep our eyes forward as we press on.
I had the privilege of hearing the Reverend Doctor Charles Crabtree speak on this passage. He used a phrase that has stuck with me for the part that Paul says, “Press on.” In essence he said, “Often in life it feels like we are getting nowhere and making no difference at all, but plod on. Never give up. Never lose sight of the goal. Plod on! Plod On! PLOD ON!”
In just a few days we will begin a new year. Often this time of year our minds turn to new beginnings; setting new personal goals for ourselves. Maybe exercising more, losing weight, getting our finances straight, strengthening family ties, or whatever your New Year’s resolution may be. It is important to remember that there is one goal that is of the utmost importance, keeping ourselves on the track that God has set before us; keeping ourselves holy and true for our Heavenly Father. Sometimes it may seem that we are stuck, or we are not really making a difference. My friend, I encourage you to plod on. Do not give up, do not become distracted, do not look back; instead give all you have to complete this race and be found worthy of the prize. PRESS ON!
Lord, help me to run this race, this path that has been set before me in a worthy manner. Help me to keep my eyes focused on you and the high calling that you have placed on my life. I want to do my very best and give you my very best. For ultimately when this race is finished I want to hear those words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter in!”