Tag: prize

Straining for the Prize!

Scripture reading for September 4th:  Philippians 3, Psalm 27, Proverbs 23

Key Scriptures: Philippians 3:12-16 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and straining  to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

Paul was in the later years of his life and ministry.  He had walked with Jesus through many trials and tribulations and seen many miracles and spiritual victories.  But he knew that he was not perfect and had not arrived.  He kept his focus forward, not backward.  He knew that the best was yet to come and to focus on knowing and seeing Jesus when He returned would keep him and those he oversaw moving in the right direction.

Faith Confession:  I choose daily to focus on Jesus Christ, placing Him first in all things.  I purpose to leave the past behind me and set an example for others by pressing on to know Jesus Christ, Who saved me by His atoning sacrifice.

Psalm 27:4  “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”


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Laying hold of the prize!

Scripture reading for October 2nd: Philippians 3:4-21

Paul liked to use the analogy of a runner in a race.  Runners had to keep focused on the  finish line.  They couldn’t be looking back but needed to be moving forward, even straining to win the prize.  Good runners run to win!  The Christian race is similar to a race and the prize is eternal life in Christ Jesus!

Paul used to boast about all of his credentials and accomplishments in an effort to become a good Jew.  He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin.  He was taught in the law and was so zealous for his religion that he persecuted the church of Jesus Christ.  But Paul considered all his accomplishments as rubbish for the wonderful privilege of knowing Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 3:7-8)  He entered the race to know Christ on the Damascus Road and once his eyes were opened, he never looked back!

“That I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him in His death, and, so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:8b-11)   Paul learned that all his works could not earn righteousness.  It was a gift of God’s grace that came by faith in Christ.  Paul got to see Christ, but he wanted to know Him in a more intimate way.  He knew that the message of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection had the power to reveal Christ in him and others.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . . .But this 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)  Paul is near the end of his life and his attitude is one of focused faith on receiving the prize of eternal life with Christ.  He is not looking back, but straining forward!  May we be so focused!

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