Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
These verses have long been my favorite verses in Scripture. In fact, Philippians is by far one of my favorite writings in our Scripture. Paul has been encouraging the Philippians to continue the race and not give up. The goal for Paul is “knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection and participating in His sufferings” (3:10). Although, as we hear, he has not quite obtained all this. He may understand the goal; he may see it on the horizon, but he doesn’t quite feel as if he knows Christ and the power of His resurrection. If anything, that is in fact a motivator rather than a demotivator.
I know at times in my life I may have a goal; and it seems so unattainable that I just give up on it. One time I wanted to learn to play the guitar. Well, I got into it; and realized there was so much to learn that I got overwhelmed and let the dream go. Yet, Paul knows he’s not there but keeps putting one foot in front of the other. Deep down Paul is captivated by Jesus and the life Jesus has to offer. Even if it seems so far away, the reward is worth it. He’s not going to let his past get in the way. He’s not going to let his failures overrule his heart. He sees ahead of him the power of Christ’s resurrection and won’t give up on it. It’s worth it.
I want that kind of tenacity in my faith. For many, these past couple years have been trying on our lives and our faith. It’s easy to throw our hands up and give up. Yet, imagine what it will be like to know the power of Christ’s resurrection in your life, in your family, and in our congregation. Such a vision is motivating to me. I hope wherever you find yourself, you hear Paul’s words as an encouragement not to give up. Keep pressing forward. It’s worth it.
PS...what’s your favorite Bible verse?
Rev. Nathan Kilbourne