“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 on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I previously shared my thoughts about the importance of “forgetting what is behind”. See January 24. We can’t move forward if we are stuck in our past. Yet, Paul says moving forward is the point!
In part, this is a picture of Paul running a race, perhaps it is a long distance. He says he is “straining” toward what is ahead. Could it be a crown or other reward?
In this context, the Miriam-Webster Dictionary says to “strain” means “to exert to the utmost”, or “strive violently”. Paul is intensely focused and striving for something. He is dedicated and determined; and I can imagine that he won’t give up, give in or give out!
Paul says he will “press on”. The dictionary definition in this context means “to follow through”, “to force one’s way”, or, “to require haste or speed in action”. He is hastily and forcefully moving forward, with intense focus, to follow through to his goal!
Paul has previously revealed in Romans 8:29 that the ultimate purpose of the Father for each of His children is to be conformed to the image of Christ so that Jesus is the “firstborn among many”. This must be his prize!
Are you focused intensely on, and striving toward, this goal and prize?
Tell the Father you will re-double your determination to allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify you and conform you to the image of Jesus.
Dive Deeper: Study Philippians 3; Romans 8:29.