Philippians 3:12-14 – “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.” NKJV
Life is filled with choices and we make choices every day and multiple times if not thousands of times every day. Where we are today is a compilation of the choices we have made subsequent to this moment in time. Who we are is the result of the myriad of choices we have made. Yes, God wipes the slate clean and gives us a brand-new start at salvation but the formation of our character, condition, and position in life is directly related to our choices or if you will allow the direction to which we look.
Paul was addressing difficulties of life, suffering, trials, tests, and temptations in his and their ministry. He was highlighting the need and desire to always reach for a life that is pleasing to and representative of God and His Grace. He was focused on Spiritual Perfection or Spiritual Maturity to the point and degree that he and they could walk victoriously in all things and at all times without imperfection. You may say, “Roy, that is an impossible dream” and I would not argue with you that on this earth we will likely never reach that point. But Paul makes a poignant point and calls to mind something that I’m not sure we do not miss or overlook.
He acknowledged that He had not attained spiritual perfection or completeness. His heart was crying out to lay hold or apprehend Jesus just as Jesus has laid hold of or apprehended him. The word used means to seize, eagerly possess, and suggests a unification and becoming one with. The Psalmist described that heart condition in Psalm 84:2, “My soul longs, yes even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God.” In Psalm 63:1, he cried, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek you earnestly; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and a weary land where there is no water.” Paul is describing a longing and thirst that can only be quenched by the Water of Life that Jesus gives, that water our Lord said would spring up within us and be like a River of Living Waters flowing out from us.
He knew his position and condition and then reminded them that although he had not attained he knew what he must do. He spoke of Two Looks in Life that determine our destination. He says, “one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul’s One Thing has three parts: I do not dwell on the Backward Look. I focus on the Forward and Upward Look. I determinedly, doggedly, and devotedly PRESS TOWARD that which is ahead.
He considered that a mark of maturity that we forget the past and focus on the future in God. He considered it a necessary quality of a believer that we turn our hearts and minds upon the things of God and as he told them earlier, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ.” That mind was void of selfishness and self-centeredness. He demonstrated a servant’s heart and a mind to serve. If we look at what was and dream about what might have been we will lose sight of what is, what can be, and what will be if we PRESS TOWARD THE MARK and KEEP PRESSING TOWARD THE MARK. You have a choice in life to follow the BACKWARD LOOK or the FORWARD and UPWARD LOOK. Which look do you choose?
God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him.