What are you striving for? - Philippians 3:12-21

What are we striving for?

What are we striving for?

What are we putting our effort into, and what struggles are we putting forth to attain that goal?
Are we currently satisfied with our Christian life, or are we striving to know more and grow closer to God and His calling in our lives? If so, what are we doing about it?
Philippians 3:12-16
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

I enjoy playing sports. I love the competitive aspect and physical demand that sports require. Competition builds bonds amongst teammates, and training prepares us for the next competition to obtain the prize. Paul tells us that he is not satisfied with his Christian life. He desires more of Jesus and wants to be closer to Christ, refining his walk. This desire carries over to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ because Paul wants everyone to experience this same desire. Paul had a tremendous passion for Christ, yet he still had yet to ‘perfect’ his Christian walk. 

Paul continues, and strives, to improve his Christian walk and relationship with Christ by forgetting the past life before Christ. Paul understands that Christ has forgiven him, and now his one desire is to press toward the upward calling of God. However, our Christian walk is not a race against other Christians. We cannot compare our Christian walk to those around us. I myself fall short continually in numerous ways. Paul is a tremendous example, but I can never compare. What I do know is that Christ has a personal calling for me, and that is my race. My desire is to press toward and lean into that calling. Sometimes, I find myself sprinting. Other times, I take baby steps or walk in a diagonal line. My own sin, stubbornness, immaturity, and ignorance prevent me from walking in a direct path toward God’s calling. Then, through trials from God, my eyes are re-focused on the eventual prize. 

How do I know what God’s calling is in my life? That is a great question. But we are called to pursue the heart of God and His will by spending that time in prayer and digging into God’s Word. The more we know about God, the less ignorant and immature we become, and the more attuned we will be to hearing His calling. Also, it is God’s calling for our lives. If it is God’s will, then it will be so. However,  I often require repeated reminders and some redirection to understand, grasp, and step toward God’s calling in my life. 

I often ask myself, “Who am I to be doing this for God? There must be someone who is more spiritual or knows more of the Bible than I do. I am not qualified to do this or serve in this capacity.” However, this is me putting limits on God and His will in my life. If God is calling us to do something, God will genuinely equip us to achieve that task and calling. Moses said he was not a good public speaker or the right person for the job, but God’s will was for Moses to lead His people out of captivity; therefore, God provided Aaron to support, encourage, and strengthen Moses. God provides us with what we need to accomplish His will and He will groom us to meet His intent. 

Nevertheless, we must strive to lean forward in prayer and in our personal study of God’s Word. It isn’t easy and it never will be. So many distractions in my life and personal struggles often obscure the goal ahead. But it is when I am refocused on God, the goal becomes clear again, whether it is a short-term or a long-term goal. 

What is the ultimate prize? It is to be with Christ in heaven for eternity. We will be rewarded for living of the same mind as Christ. Striving to be more like Him and have a heart of Christ in our Christian walk. The ultimate prize is for our lowly bodies to be transformed into the glorious body that He will provide and for us to live as citizens of heaven. 

Again, what are we striving for? What are we doing to train our hearts, minds, and body to fulfill God's upward calling for our lives? Are we spending time in prayer? Are we spending time reading and studying God’s Word? 

I encourage all of us to take that step of further commitment to concentrate on His calling in our lives. Spend time in prayer with God and allow God to reveal Himself to you. Start small and build from there.
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