Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Pressing on Toward the Goal
Phil. 3:12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Earlier in this letter Paul had described to the Philippians his desire to know Christ. This was not just a superficial knowledge, but a knowledge of participation. This becomes the goal for Paul, to participate with Christ and become more and more like him.
Now he goes on to explain that he has not yet reached that goal, but that it remains ever before him. Therefore, while he can, he will press on toward that goal. He clearly puts aside everything that might distract him and leans forward, drawn by grace, but participating by his own effort to become more like Christ. Paul will always and continually “press on toward the goal.”
It’s far too easy to slip into the idea that we don’t need to continually put effort into our spiritual development. These words from Paul challenge me because if Paul thought it was important enough to press on — daily — moment by moment into his relationship with Christ — shouldn’t I?
The goal of knowing Christ ought to be continually before us — day in and day out. When viewing life in terms of eternity, we must continually press forward, and following Christ leads us into that eternity by way of the kingdom of God. We participate in the kingdom of God today with eternity in mind. We live and work and press on toward Christ while being challenged to faithfully serve in the kingdom.
It’s far too easy to forget what the real goal in life is. The goal is Christ! We are to get to know Christ and be continually transformed into his image. Jesus must shape and form our day — every day. We must create space for Jesus — and this space must continually expand until more and more we are consumed by Jesus.
I’m sitting in a jury assembly room this morning as I write these thoughts. I’m looking around at the crowd that is gathering and wondering what this day has in store. Even in these events of life, which may seem ordinary, we press on and pray that we reflect Christ in all we do.
Lord, I want to press on and know you more. Please, help me to keep you center in all I do. Amen.