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 on toward 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.
This passage, to me, has always brought to mind the finish line of an Olympic finals sprint race. The picture that Paul paints here in verse 13 – straining forward – when all the athletes are straining to get their bodies over the line ahead of all the others, nothing in reserve, every fibre of their being going forward, not looking back or sideways but toward the prize – the gold medal. But here Paul says our prize is heaven.
I’m always challenged by this, am I like that athlete straining forward toward the prize of heaven? Toward my life becoming more Christ like? Or am I looking around to see what everyone else is doing or looking back to see where it all went wrong or when it was all so much easier or better?
Father help me to keep the prize of you in front of me always, eternity with you – heaven – to be more like the athlete straining forward and not settling for prizes that are only here for a moment and have no eternal value.
Written by Suzie Hodgson