How would you run a race? You might never really have thought about this question before, or you might be the kind of person that knows exactly how to do it! I don’t run. I don’t particularly like it but I admire those who can, and do it because they love it. Last year during the Olympic games, I really enjoyed watching the athletes run their different races. Their concentration, their effort, their dedication and determination to run, to win, to even just cross the finish line are amazing! The athletes just focus on that finish line and they give their all. Sometimes, when something unexpected happens, such as a fall, they get up and keep running, because their eyes are on that finish line! I suppose for an athlete not finishing a race is worse than losing it.
The apostle Paul write to the Philippians to exhort and encourage them to keep pressing on keeping their eyes on the prize.
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14
Paul begins by saying to them he has not yet achieved the goal. In verses 10-11 of the same chapter he says:
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
The great apostle Paul wanted to know Christ in every way possible, and he is pressing on focussing on the prize, which is most and above all to Know Jesus. Being in heaven means being with Jesus. What an amazing prize that is!
Paul was telling them he was not living in the past, he wasn’t looking to the left or to the right, but he was looking forward to what lies ahead! I have never seen an athlete run looking backwards! When we live our lives as if we were prisoners of our past deeds we will not focus on our prize. Jesus has rescued us. He has offered us forgiveness and we are free from our past. Let me just say one thing here: learning from past mistakes is important, or feeling sorry for past sins is part of becoming a transformed person, but dwelling in the past is a dangerous thing because it takes our focus away from Jesus.
We are urged to press on! Look ahead! Focus on the finish line! Focus on the prize! I don’t want to pretend this is an easy thing. We live in a busy world and we do allow ourselves to get caught up in it. As mums, we do need to look after our families, teach our children, manage our homes well, do laundry, cook… the list goes on and on. Somehow we need to press on. We need to remind ourselves of the amazing prize awaiting for us! We need let Jesus inspire us over and over again. We need to rely on His strength to press on. If the prize is to know Him, how do we do it? We might start by studying His word! Jesus is God and has authority over all things. If He is God, we must conclude His word is true. If his word is true, we must conclude we need to obey it and live it out! That is our next step. Talking to Jesus is also important, so prayer needs to be present in our lives. Spending time with Godly people is another way to Know Jesus better. Sharing Him with other people is an exciting way to deepen the relationship with Him. This is not a finished list, just some simple steps.
How are you running your race?