“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.”
This verse highlights some very important attributes that I wish to possess as I embark on a new year.
-“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” (Like Paul, no matter how successful I ever become, I still have yet to obtain my ultimate goal of a place in heaven alongside my God. I can’t lose diligence or perserverance thinking I’ve already arrived in this life. There is still work to do and ways to grow.)
-“But one thing I do…” (Here, Paul is setting a goal, one of our most popular traditions this time of year. While I’ve met many of my goals of the previous year, many are a work in progress, and sadly, some were never attempted. There are many worthwhile goals that a Christian should strive for to include reading/studying more of the Bible, praying more often and earnestly, giving more of my time and material blessings, and teaching others about Christ.)
-“Forgetting what is behind…” (I have much to forget in order that I may move on to greater things. Those include past mistakes, failures, hurts, defeats, and even accomplishments. I must forget these in order to be fully functional for the Lord.)
-“straining toward what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (The words “straining” and “press on” instill in my mind the concept of exercise, of pushing my limits of endurance and physical ability, of stretching forth to claim victory. With tenacity I must pursue holiness, maturity, a deeper knowledge of Christ, discipline, and a loving heart that cares for others.)
And what awaits me in the end? An abundant life now on earth and an inheritance both undefiled and incorruptible, and the crown of life. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)”