If you’ve ever engaged in a challenging or difficult activity you’ve likely thought something like “how am I ever going to keep going?” or “how will I ever complete this?” Often times when we ask these types of questions we’re asking questions about our motivation and whether or not what we’re working towards is really worth all the effort. The things we’re striving for and pressing after are things that we’ve not yet attained and therefore we must work hard to achieve what we’re after.
The Christian life can be like this more than we’d like it to be, and as a result we can find ourselves lagging in drive and desire to continue to follow Jesus or even to begin following him. In Philippians 3:12-16 the Apostle Paul gives us the motivation to press on in being followers of Jesus and even the reason we can do it even with the odds seeming to be against us.
Paul tells us to press on because we’ve already won the prize, we’ve already been given what we ultimately need, Jesus Christ himself. With Jesus, we’ve been given full and abundant life both here and now and for eternity. By God’s grace we’ve already attained what our hearts and lives are truly after, a right relationship with God, and because we have this already we can press on even when following Jesus is hard, and when we’re tired and want to give up.
In and through Jesus we have attained full and abundant life, and yet all of us are still called by God to grow and mature in our faith. Despite the pressures of the world around trying to keep us from growing, we can and will grow to maturity as the Holy Spirit works within us, enabling us to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14).
Join us this Sunday as we’re led in worship by our middle and high school students who are pressing on in their faith as they live up to what they’ve already attained in Christ Jesus and encourage us to do the same.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.