I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:14
The 17th century preacher Thomas Watson said that the way from earth to heaven is not easy, and he is so right. Our life is filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, seasons that seems peaceful and easy, and seasons that are laborious and tiresome. We all know what it is like to be overwhelmed with all that we have to do or be in the midst of a strained relationship. Life is not easy.
Paul knew all about these hardships. In fact, he wrote the book of Philippians while in prison, but his eyes were so focused on Jesus that this book turned out to be one of the most encouraging and joyful letters he wrote.
The Bible likes to compare our life to a race. 1 Cor. 9:24 challenges us to “run in such a way as to get the prize!” Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “run with patience the race that is set before us.” Psalm 119:32 says that we should, “run the way of [God’s] commandments.” And our verse for today, Phil 3:14, reminds us to press on towards the goal and a prize.
The Race has a Specific Path
In every race there is a path that is taken. Let’s make sure we are not running aimlessly or without purpose. The path we are to run on is one of obedience and sanctification. It is one that is filled with holiness and communion with God. All other paths are filled with worldliness that will weigh us down and sins that will entangle our legs and make us fall.
The Race is Hard
The race of Christianity is hard. We are to strive for the finish line. Striving implies hard work and diligence.
“My soul follows hard after God,” Psalm 63:8.
Do we do this? Do we follow hard after God? There is no room for laziness, distractions or procrastination. Lists, wishes, and daydreams won’t cause us to win the prize.
What an incongruity!
Taking their ease, while threatened by danger!
Rusting, instead of wearing out in His service!
Trifling away opportunities to glorify their Savior, instead of redeeming the time!
The Race is Short
The race is short. Years pass quickly and seasons come and go. Our time on earth is not long, especially when we ompare it to eternity, and while the devil will try to distract us with all the shiny things this world offers we must stay focused.
“When you kill time, remember that is has no resurrection.”
A. W. Tozer
We should also be encouraged that since time is short our suffering will also be short in light of eternity. This does not make suffering easy, but it means that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It is but awhile, Christians, and you shall be finished wrestling, weeping, and praying, and you shall reap the fruit of all your prayers. It is but awhile, and you shall be finished suffering and be among “the spirits of just men made perfect.”
The Race has a Prize
As with most races there is a prize for those who finish. It is the same within Christianity but there isn’t just one winner. All who finish will receive a reward, a prize that is so precious it is compared to a crown.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Tim. 4:8
The Christian race is one filled with battles, uphill struggles, falls and distractions but Jesus runs with us and therefore it is also filled with peace, joy, growth, and the assurance that it will end and there will be a prize.
Let this be a year where we pray with Solomon, “Draw me—and I will run after You.” Song of Solomon 1:4
Looking To Jesus,