Read 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."
How do you press on toward the goal?
Paul recognized something that we all need to consider: He had never and would never attain perfection in this lifetime. He wrote, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect," meaning he had never become complete and mature (Philippians 3:12). Instead, Paul had a realistic view of himself. He knew that because he was human, he had an innate tendency to sin. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned--for before the law was given, sin was in the world" (Romans 5:12-13).
Yes, the life-changing power of Christ was in his heart, but Paul knew that he wouldn't reach perfection on this side of eternity. While Jesus' sacrifice on the cross delivered him from the ugly grip of sin and death, the finality of that deliverance would only come after this earthly life. He knew where he needed to be: on his knees, experiencing God's grace.
The apostle had a healthy grasp of three equations that do add up:
• Christ + Salvation = Christianity
• Love + Grace = Forgiveness
• Surrender + Freedom = Faith
The message is clear: God denounces our sin and, like Paul, we need to change. Yet as we seek to follow Christ, we need to remind ourselves that we may fall on our faces along the way. The solution: Keep getting back up and keep straining diligently to grow. Paul set the example.
Lord, thank you for delivering me from the grip of sin and death. Thank You for Your grace. Amen.