Philippians 3:13-14 “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, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
In v15 and 16, the Apostle Paul continues to say “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
You see, maturity is the aim of every Christian, and by maturity, I mean developing Christ-like character and conduct. Spiritual maturity is learning how to walk in obedience to God and making choices to live by God’s viewpoint rather than your viewpoint. To do this, there are some essential steps you need to follow. You need to “forget what is behind” and “press on toward the goal”.
Jesus, in the parable of the seeds, says in Luke 8:14 “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” If we examine ourselves, are we like those who fell among the thorns. Are you being choked by your past, are you being pulled down by those things that have happened in your life that you just cannot let go off? And because of these things you are unable to mature and bear fruit. What you need to realise is that the old is gone and the new has come. You are a new person, born again in Christ Jesus. It is time for you to set your mind on the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Looking backward only brings destruction. In the book of Genesis, when God rescued Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah, the command was given to them in Genesis 19:17 saying “Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” Likewise, in your life do not stop anywhere in the valley of despair, in the valley of the past, lest you be swept away by the cares and worries of this world. Instead look to the hills, the rock which is Christ in whom you can take refuge. He is the treasure and upward call of God. He is the crown that you are after. In this valley, you will have many troubles, but I urge you to persevere.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,…”
Lay down the weight of your past, lay down the weight of your sin and run with endurance. Persevere. Run the race, looking only at Jesus. Do not stop anywhere in the valley.
Look forward to the upward call. You see, when you do this, you are setting your eyes on spiritual things rather than the worldly cares and troubles. You are declaring that Christ is the ultimate treasure of your life. Just like Moses had faith in God and he forsook all of the pleasures readily available to him in Egypt. Hebrews 11:26 says “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I urge you to set your eyes on the prize which is Christ. With endurance and perseverance run the race leading to greater maturity, bearing much fruit for the kingdom of God and those around you. Our king is coming soon, may we be ready to finish the race bringing all glory to His name. In closing, I leave you with the words of Jesus in Revelation 3:11 saying “I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”