Onward and Upward!
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you” (Philippians 3:14-15).
In this well-known passage, the apostle Paul compared the Christian life to a race and admitted that he had not yet arrived at the finish line. “Brothers and sisters,” he said in the prior verse, “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.” Paul did not wallow in despair as he penned this letter from a cold Roman prison, nor did he look back and allow his past to weigh him down with guilt or let his successes make him complacent. Through numerous challenges, Paul persevered by always focusing his eyes on Jesus. He pressed on toward the goal of becoming more conformed to Christ-likeness every day.
I think most of us would agree, nothing worth having in this life comes easy or without challenge. I once heard it said, “If it doesn’t challenge me, it doesn’t change me.” Scripture makes it clear we can all expect challenges and hardship. The question becomes, will we allow our challenges to change us for the better? How will we handle them? Will give up and give in, or will we persevere and press on. Paul provides us with the right answer in this passage. We must remain focused on Jesus and press on in our faith! Amid all the current challenges that confront us today, stay focused, and pray for the Holy Spirit to stir up the gifts inside of you (2Tim 1:6) and then watch as God begins to reveal Himself in new, encouraging ways.
We can all find comfort knowing that we are not alone in these challenging days; our loving God is with us! And like Paul, despite our past failures or successes or even the current challenges before us, we must keep pressing on toward the ultimate goal of becoming more Christ-like with each passing day. As the apostle Paul tells us, we are not racing for an earthly prize but the ultimate reward of eternity with our savior. So, remain faithful and focused, my brothers and sisters, and keep pressing onward and upward!
Grace and peace always,