Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But 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. – ESV
Through this time of chaos and confusion around the world, it seems fitting to share a reminder that can give us all focus. So much of what I’m seeing in my own experience and hearing from other believers, indicates almost universal uncertainty. It’s like a dark shroud has compassed believers about and we can’t see more than a few steps in front of us.
Remembering The Prize
But then we read scriptures like the one above, and we remember the prize way off in the distance. But it’s close enough to spur us on if we let it. It’s like the shroud won’t allow us to see intermediate distances, but it allows distant light to trickle through to remind us of our call and journey.
Notice that our call and journey is upward. We have no business, even during such pressing times to be going downward or back-sliding. The good news is, we cannot do so accidently, and many times it feels like we are when we’re not. For as we go on this journey, it seems many times that we are going downward, while in fact we are steadily gaining altitude. In other words, though things look dark and though it seems like we are in a valley, we are moving onward and upward in reality. We just can’t see it because of the shroud around us. Unless of course we are actually giving up and losing ground. That is a different story.
Notice the impetus that drives a man like Paul, acquainted with many hardships deeper than most of us can imagine: “but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
Finding Our Own Inspiration
Perhaps we would do well to make this our own impetus in our heavenly quest. Our straining and pushing ahead is all for naught if done from the wrong source of power, or even from the wrong motivation. But if we press ahead to make the prize our own, simply because Jesus has made us His own, then we have a perfect foundation for success.
If we move ahead because He has made us His own, then we are loving Him because He first loved us. And we are motivated by that love and by His strength. Rest assured we will run out of our own strength and will have great need of His as many of us are discovering.
So let’s forget what lies behind. Even what lies behind in the immediate past. Let’s keep our hand on the plow and not look back. Yesterday can become a prison if we let it. Our destination lies ahead. And above. Behind and below is yesterdays news—we’ve already made all we can of that. Let’s follow that shimmering light off in the distance, it’s our goal, our prize, our destination. The shroud around us, and the evil voices that whisper to us from it, are temporary and were soundly defeated two thousand years ago.