Running. I’m not a fan.
I walk a few miles each day, even in the winter but running? Well, I have to draw the line somewhere! In our day running is a symbol as well as an attempt. I know,I have family members that run track, run 5Ks, 10k’s, and even marathons (26.2 miles-what?).My favorite bumper sticker these days is the one that says 0.0. It testifies to the world, that I just don’t want to be healthy that bad!
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 3:13-14 NIV
Paul is using imagery that should be familiar to a runner. He is saying that he wants this
powerful spiritual walk with God and that he hasn’t fooled himself into thinking that he has achieved it yet. Are you kidding me? If Apostles can feel that way… well, you get it. He is saying there is still work to do, the goal isn’t met, it isn’t good enough, development needs to happen! He is saying God isn’t finished with me yet!
But he is also saying I’m in it to win. He warns us to do a couple things that we would
be smart to remember here at the beginning of the year. Let’s review them.
(1) Forget what is behind. The past is the past. There is no living with it, bury it and move on. Even the good stuff! Even the accolades, even the celebrations, even the achievements…bury them. It takes prayer to forget the past. The world will try to remind you of your past. Bury it.
(2) Strain- This is the look on the face of many marathon runners. They are putting it all
out there, really trying! A powerful spiritual walk doesn’t happen by accident. People don’t trip and fall in to maturity. You need to evaluate your life and determine that you will proactively pursue God. I heard a pastor say just today that he is simply one of God’s sheep, an imperfect human, one among many. I get that. I know that. But there is another truth to balance that humility out. God has anointed you, brother, to change lives. Don’t hide your passivity behind the mask of false humility!
(3) Press on to win. The Apostle clearly knows that it is God’s will for him to run and win!
He says as much to us here in the last verse. God laid his hand upon him for the very purpose of winning the prize. Implicit in the comment of Paul here is that there are a million distractions along the way. Everyone of them can be useful to get your attention off of what God wills for your life. Don’t placate them, press on! Don’t play with them, press on! Don’t settle for most improved! Not everyone will get this trophy! Get up and run like you want it!