12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (note: for context, look at the section prior to this).
As we ponder Resurrection Sunday, think for a moment on Philippians 3:12-14:
Have you ever pondered:
What is the “it” in verse 12?
What is the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” in verse 14?
One commentator put it this way (I’ll summarize) – We are living between DDay and Victory-Europe Day (World War 2); between Saratoga and Yorktown (Revolutionary War). In between those points are successes and setbacks. But those engaged in the battle ultimately had to set their sights on the victory.
Paul, in Philippians 3, is reminding us that we also need to set our sights on the ultimate victory, eternal life with God Himself in heaven, obtained through Christ’s substitutionary death, burial and resurrection. This is the “it”, the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. We must stay focused on the ultimate prize, just like an athlete in the original Olympic Games sets his eyes on the finish line.
But what’s the difference between us and the Allied soldiers in WWII?; between Christians and the Continental Army in the late 1770s?; between believers in Christ and Olympic athletes? It’s that we KNOW that we HAVE the VICTORY! Someone in the heat of battle or the games could wonder, in their heart of hearts, if they will ultimately succeed. But they “press on” regardless. They must.
You and I, as believers in Christ have obtained the victory! We know it is secured! Paul knows that we are, and will be, tempted to be distracted in a myriad of ways on our journey. (The book Pilgrim’s Progress, or even “Little Pilgrim’s Progress” for children, is a good illustration of this, if you’ve never read it).
So as we enter this season, where even the secular world pauses for “Easter”, may it be a solid, heart-strengthening reminder for us, motivating us afresh to “set our eyes on the prize”, and identifying and ridding ourselves of all distractions. In Christ, you have obtained the VICTORY! So PRESS ON!