I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Read Philippians 3:12-14
Challenges are inevitable. Setbacks are common. Even frustrations are sometimes unavoidable and draining. However, quitting or giving up, can be most disappointing to a person. Deciding to quit on a task, or a dream, or an aspiration, can leave you with many regrets, or wishful thinking, if you only stuck with it. Who knows what you would have become if you just stayed in the race? A great musician…….a great athlete…….an executive of a fortune 500 company………, or an influential community leader. Sometimes we fail to realize that what stands between us and success, is not other people; nor our intelligence, gifts or talents; but it’s our ability to manage difficult moments in our journeys and commit to never giving up at all costs. No one knew more about difficult seasons and tasks than the Apostle Paul. The task of spreading the gospel and establishing churches during such a contentious time in Asia Minor, could have caused anyone to make the decision to quit. Not to mention, Christians during this time were under heavy persecution from the Roman government, and the Apostle Paul was one of the most hated and wanted missionaries throughout the region. Imprisonment, and even execution, were always a threat to Paul and his followers.
However, despite the threats on his life, Paul shared with the Philippian church his unwavering commitment to spreading the gospel and staying in the race. In Philippians 3, though he acknowledged that this “prize” or “reward” has not yet been obtained or has been an easy journey, he declared to the church that he was committed to pressing on towards the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Some biblical scholars have said this reward that Paul was referring to was heaven, or life after death; however, besides the prize itself, the most important thing to remember is that this prize or reward can only be obtained if you continue to press on. You must continue to press forward and stay in the race. Stay in the running, and not allow setbacks or difficulties to derail you from your destiny.
Notice that Paul speaks for an individual who is confident that the prize was a part of his destiny and legacy. Same for us. There are prizes, promotions, and accomplishments that are a part of our legacy; however it will take our commitment to work towards it, to obtain it. That degree belongs to you, but you cannot obtain it unless you stay in the race. That job, that business is close to getting started, but you cannot get it, unless you continue to press forward. That project, that goal is almost completed, but you cannot get it done, unless you press on. That weight loss or health goal is in your grasp, but you will never see the results you desire, unless you continue to work. Press on at all costs. Stay in the race, no matter the journey; and know that when you commit to stick with it, God empowers you with the strength you need to complete it.