Straining Forward.October 22, 2013
Day/Verse 98: 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. – Phillipians 3: 13 & 14
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. Brothers. What good a word. If the entire passage was birthed and ended here, it would still be full. One of the beauties of our Christian faith is this brotherhood. I have now seen it all over the world. Praise God for grafting us in and knitting us together. Unite our hearts all the more Lord! Paul is saying here, “Whatever gifts, graces, or honors I may have received from Jesus Christ, I consider every thing as incomplete till I have finished my course, got this crown, and have my body raised and fashioned after his glorious body.” – Clark’s Commentary
But one thing I do… Paul was determined to be about one thing. What are we about? I not so long ago had a good friend challenge me; “what is the one thing you would like Come&Live! to be known for?” Great question! I love what DL Moody said long ago: Give me a man who says this one thing I do, and not those fifty things I dabble in. I desire to be that kind of man, to be committed to a one-thing style of ministry.
…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead… I wonder, if we were able to run the stats, just how much of our lives are spent fixated on the past? Prior defeats, struggles, inconsistencies, relational let-downs, awkward moments, hurt, regrets – all are cause for alarm in contrast to straining forward. Paul was aware of something better laying up ahead, and I don’t believe he was exclusively referring to eternity (though this most definitely was on his head/heart). Jesus has come to give us life, and life more abundant. Paul radically encountered life and amidst all his trials, abundance. To grow in life only means to be less worldly when we’re welcomed into God’s presence eternally. I hope and pray that my life here looks as much like heaven as divinely possible.
…I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Can you say mouthful? Let alone life-full. There are many key words in this sentence, but the ones that grip me most are “press on.” Continue moving forward. You and I need reminders that a continual forward movement is possible and essential. You may not always feel the motion pulling you future, but don’t live by your feelings. God is fully able to complete in you the work He has begun. The goal in life is the prize of this upward call. It’s heaven roaring down on us in extreme support of our homecoming. Millions upon millions cheering on even the weakest and frailest of believers – they will be first! Keep pressing forward!
Prayer: Holy Spirit, thanks for being such a helper! Help me now, and for the rest of my life, to forget what lies behind and to strain forward to what lies ahead. Empower me to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ. Amen.
P.S. My life recently has been a combination of extreme busyness in behind-the-scenes ministry planning and low-key traveling to ensure my family is still a priority. I desire to write far more often here than what I have. Thanks for showing me grace. If you would like to follow my personal journey a bit closer, head on over to the one thousand risks blog for brief, near-daily updates.