“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14

Success has become a modern fetish, it seems — from self-help seminars, to multi-level marketing schemes, to the yuppie mentality.  A motivational and success-oriented mindset has even spilled over into the church.  Instead of employing such worldly methods, however, we should emulate the lives and methods of successful biblical examples, such as the apostle Paul. 

In this passage, Paul explains his secrets.  First, he kept his attention on important things.  Earthly things were of no value (vv. 7-8), while the knowledge of Christ and His sufferings was of great value (vv. 8,10).  Paul’s desire was to acquire the ‘righteousness…which is through the faith of Christ’ (v. 9), and to attain eternal life (v. 11). 

Second, he had a proper view of himself.  He knew he was imperfect (v. 12) and incomplete (v. 13), having worth only through the work of Christ.  Third, he didn’t dwell on past mistakes.  Once forgiven through repentance and faith in Christ, he knew that he need no longer bear the guilt for his mistakes, and must not let them hinder his present ministry. 

Fourth, Paul looked forward to the future, stretching himself to reach his goals (vv. 13-14).  And his goals were high — ‘the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (v. 14).

What is the prize which awaits those who are successful in this high calling?  ‘Our [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body’ (vv. 20-21). 

~John D. Morris, Ph. D.
Days of Praise
Thursday, February 4

 

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