“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.” Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)
I recently attended the funeral service of a dear saint and longtime friend of our family. I had the pleasure of spending numerous times at her kitchen table talking about life, the Lord and praying with her. She was one of the best ladies I knew. One thing about her that always stood out to me was her relationship with Jesus. She was devoted to and truly loved the Lord.
While sitting in her funeral service I recalled the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians chapter three. Paul is reminding the Philippian believers (you and I as well) to continue to press on towards the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The Christian life is not meant to be wasted. Once one comes to faith in Jesus, their life is radically changed. A person literally goes from eternity separated from God to eternity with God because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross at Calvary. It is because of this atoning work that all believers are called to live a life of surrender to God (Romans 12:1).
There is a prize that is coming at the end of the life of the Christian. The prize is unimaginable to the finite human mind. We have the book of Revelation to see what eternity will look like, but even with the beautiful imagery penned by John our human minds cannot begin to fathom the glorious scene we will one day see.
The Christian life is to be lived with this prize in mind. Every day is a gift from God to live a life that brings glory and honor to our Lord. We cannot sit idly by while the lost around us die and never hear the news of what Jesus has done for us. How can we live a life that is completely surrendered and unashamed (Romans 1:16) to Christ pressing forward to the goal? It will take commitment, sacrifice and daily denying of self. Although these examples are not exhaustive, here are a few ways we can live our lives pressing forward to that goal.
Spend Daily Quality Time with God
One cannot grow in a relationship if they are not spending time with those in the relationship. A married couple will not grow as a couple if they never communicate. The same is true for the believer in his/her relationship with Christ. This involves prayer, scripture reading and confession of sin (to name a few fundamental components). Quality time with God can also come in silent meditation on what has been studied in the Word. There is nothing more peaceful and rewarding than quiet time with our Heavenly Father.
Share Your Redemption Story
Every person’s redemption story is the same, yet different. All who call upon the name of the Lord are redeemed and have the promise of eternal life (1 John 2:25). However, every person’s story of how God saved them is different. We are all unique individuals made in the image of God. We must live out with haste the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). God has divinely placed you in your church, vocation, family, neighborhood and other relationships for a purpose. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel and boldly take the leap of faith when God opens the door.
Prayer is another essential spiritual discipline for the believer. Prayer is our way of communicating back to our Heavenly Father. The Apostle Paul says to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This doesn’t mean to stop living life and only pray all day every day, but it does mean to continually have your heart and mind focused on the things of God and bring your petitions to him throughout your day. Pray for God to use your life as an example to others pointing people to Jesus. Pray that God would give you the boldness to testify to what He’s done for you. Pray for your marriage, children, family, church, work, etc. consistently. Pray for your protection from the temptations of the enemy and his attacks.
There are many other spiritual disciplines in the life of a believer. These are good ones to begin with. Brothers and sisters, let us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Our families, friends, neighbors and coworkers need it. We have a race to run until the day the Lord calls us home. Press on. Press on for the glory of the Lord.