Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (
A passion for the prize—that is how we could sum up Paul’s motivation in ministry. That prize was Christ-likeness—to be ultimately attained in glory, and relentlessly pursued on earth. Such a life focuses on becoming all that God has designed us to be in Christ. Our position in Him gives us the solid ground to passionately pursue our call.
We cannot look back, lest we trip. Yesterday is past—for good or bad. Regret over past stumbles will only hinder us today if we wallow in self-pity. Reliance on past successes will only hobble us today if we swell in self-promotion. Regret the past to the point of repentance and then move ahead. Reflect on the past to the point of rejoicing and then go forward. There is not enough energy for such fruitless retracing our steps, but all our strength must be expended in the race ahead of us.
Friend, we are headed down the homestretch! The finish line is in sight! It is time to pour it on—the final kick to propel us onward! Did you know that today might be the last day of this earthly race?
Beyond the finish line, there stands the Judge on the dais in Heaven. He holds in His nail-scarred hands the victor’s crown, ready to place on the head of all who finish as champions. There will be no greater joy than for Him to place it upon our head and hear Him say, “Well done!” What a victory celebration awaits! Glory to His name forever! In running for Christ, we have given ourselves to Him who gave Himself for us! How much did He give? He gave His all, and let us respond in turn. Our ultimate delight is to be abide in Him and live for Him. If that is true, we will not be disappointed. We will attain our prize and be finally with Him and become fully like Him!