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. 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (EHV).
We’re each still pressing on to take hold of heaven, to win the prize for which God Himself in Jesus Christ called us. And that’s tough. We get to be part of eternity the second we accept Christ’s gift. When we believe, we’re sealed as part of it now. Only we can recant of it; only we can lock ourselves into hell by rejecting it after. As far as Jesus is concerned, our eternity with Him is guaranteed.
And yet we still strain. And yet we still try to hammer in differences between pressing on to grasp forever and the fact that we win that prize of heaven because He already won it for us. That He’s running with us in our life-race, straining toward the finish line of this mortal life. That while He’s in us in our race, He’s actually WITH us every step, every strain, every moment.
Even the awful ones. He was with Ryan Newman the other night when Newman lost control of his car at Daytona. Thankful, Mr. Newman will live to fight another day. He knows that, in any race, there are many competitors but only one winner. Even when Jesus goes with every racer, how we run each race matters. That’s a good thing because this life is never easy. In fact, Jesus tells us we WILL strain, we will struggle; that nobody who clings to this world is fit to serve His Kingdom.
And some days truly are harder than others. Ask Ryan Newman. Ask my co-worker who is in hospice up in Washington state. Ask anyone who has ever lost their belongings in a fire, storm, or bankruptcy. Some days of struggling make it hard for us to forget the world and press forward, no matter what, towards a heavenward goal. Satan thrives on that, thriving on dividing us from Christ, from His promises. The evil one wants us to consider that this world is as good as it gets, that anything we can have here right now is so much better than what we may get at some future, undetermined date.
Don’t believe it. Keep racing. Let’s keep our eyes on Christ and His resurrection because He guarantees that we’ve already won even as the race helps us improve. That it’s a goal to keep pressing for.
For further reading: Luke 9:62, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Hebrews 6:1, Philippians 3:13.
Lord Jesus, run my race with me, and strengthen me to press onward for You.