“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul wrote from a prison cell. His rivals proclaimed Christ out of selfish ambition, hoping to create problems for Paul. The Philippian church that Paul began had a growing problem of false teaching. There was bickering between fellow believers. He was stuck but wanted to visit his spiritual family again. He sits not knowing if freedom or death awaits him.
As I work through Philippians, I have been reminded of a great truth amidst all the distractions. With daily Covid-19 updates, a constantly changing landscape in ministry, and normal life drastically changed, it’s been tough to get my head out of the vortex and see the bigger picture. Maybe you’ve likewise been bogged down and fixated on our present circumstances, but Paul models that as a believer our goal in life is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Has that been your mindset? Whether you’re in fear for your health, stressed/adjusting due to work, or think there’s a big conspiracy going on, have you lost sight of the goal for which God has called you heavenward through the death and resurrection of Jesus?
Are you pressing on towards the goal of Christ-likeness? Are you striving for the prize, the eternal crown of life? Paul uses the athletic language of a sprinter chasing the finish line, desperate for a win. Paul pursued while in a prison cell; his life is literally on the line but Paul fixates on the goal and life to come. He doesn’t complain about his rights, lost comforts, or lack of a haircut. He longs to know Christ deeper, become more like him, and glorify him in death or life. Let us be a church not easily distracted, rather, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ is God.” (Col 3:2-3).