A very good morning to you my precious friends

Philippians 3 verses 13 and 14 says “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.

Once we are placed in the family of God we are called by our Father to become holy, which is a life-long process, so we must press on towards the goal of our heavenly calling, so that we may gain the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Each believer is called to run the race that God has set before us. We each have our own unique goal to attain and that goal is purposed and planned by the Father, for it is God who works in each of His children both to will and to do that which pleases Him.

Once we have trusted the Lord Jesus as Saviour, we start out on a race through life to the finishing post. We must grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

No two life-journeys are the same as we all face our own particular problems, disappointments and challenges. We are all equipped with our own unique God-given abilities, gifts and graces. God calls all of His children to live a life that is being conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus: - a life that is seeking to live godly in Christ Jesus, until it is no longer “I who live, but Christ Who lives in us; and the life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us.”

In the book of Philippians, we must remember that Paul is Saul, the man who persecuted the church violently. He played a part in the stoning of Stephen, and he could have let guilt and shame cripple him for that. He has an impressive Jewish resume and he only mentions it to emphasize how little such things mean, next to faith in Christ. But in chapter 3 Paul says that he has forgotten what was in the past. He didn't let it haunt him or trip him up in the present.

Neither did Paul dwell on his sufferings, beatings, shipwrecks, and imprisonment. He forgot the disappointments and challenges of rebellious church members, false teachers, and persecutions. Instead, he trained his eyes on a vision of his Master welcoming him home to heaven in Matthew 25:21 which says, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your reward!".

So Paul uses the analogy of a runner who focuses on the goal ahead of him. Paul's spiritual goal is "the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

In chapter 3 Paul addresses a false teaching plaguing the Gentile believers in Philippi. Jewish Christians were pressuring them to be circumcised. Paul passionately reminded the Philippians not to place in any value in works or accomplishments. Instead they must focus on Christ and push forward to God’s purpose for them.

Here are a few important thoughts from these verses:

Our “goal” is to be all Jesus saved us for and wants us to be (Philippians 3:12) – including experiencing the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3:11) and receiving our glorified body (Philippians 3:21).

Verse 14 reminds each believer to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Our “prize” that God has called us to is glorious! Here are a few reasons why from chapter 3

To know Christ – and that’s priceless gain (Philippians 3:8)

To have Christ (Philippians 3:8)

To become one with Christ (Philippians 3:9)

To experience Christ’s mighty power (Philippians 3:10)

To “Press on” requires discipline, diligence, and determination. It’s a lifelong process of following Christ in trust and obedience. Here are a few specifics found in chapter 3.

  • I must get my priorities straight – the Lord Jesus must be over earthly things (Philippians 3:8)
  • I must trust in Christ’s ability to save and not my own abilities (Philippians 3:9)
  • I must focus on my sanctification (Philippians 3:12)
  • I must not dwell on past failures – or successes – that would keep me from moving forward (Philippians 3:13)
  • I must “dethrone” my earthly desires and enthrone the Lord Jesus (Philippians 3:19)

Wow! There’s a lot of punch behind that one little verse. These few words reflect a lifetime of faith and discipleship. Wouldn’t you say that’s worth taking to heart.

Although Christians are called to be like Christ, we continue to make mistakes. We have not "arrived" yet. We fail often. We'll never obtain complete sanctification until we stand before the Lord. But, God uses our imperfections to help us "grow up" in faith.

So fellow believer, on your marks, get set and Go and continue to run this great race.

Let us run the race that is set before us and press on towards the goal of the upward call of God - looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Let us pray:

Father God, thank You that I am Your child. Help me to live my life and run the race that You have set before me the way that You set out for me. Help me to press on towards the goal of my heavenly calling in Christ Jesus, trusting in Him to overcome every problem, disappointment and challenge I may face. I look forward to the day when You call me by name and walk and You hold my hand. Until that day, help me fix my eyes on what You want me to be and not what I've done. By Your grace and in the holy name of our Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.

Much love from Maurice and Margaret