“. . .forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14).
Press: (Gr. Dioko): To pursue, given to
Mark: (Gr. Skopos): A goal; to look out as a sentry or scout
In our day we need visionaries, who look forward, who pursue the future with purpose and intent. We need apostolic voices that know where and to whom they are being sent. We need prophetic voices that “speak to men to edification, exhortation and comfort” (cf. I Corinthians 14:3). Voices that can forecast, warn, direct, encourage, embolden to pursue, to move forward, advance with the certainty of a scout who has seen the land, knows the terrain and can lead to victory.
Too many today are moving forward looking backward. The Apostle had great success in missions, great victories in establishing churches, great acclaim and praise; but in the present he chose to “forget those things which are behind. . .”, he chose to “reach forth unto those things that are before”. That is the mind of an Apostle. That is the mind of Christ.
“Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
We have a “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. The prize that awaits is for those who will continue to pursue, who are given to the pursuit, who are driven to the goal and will not quit; who will finish in the strength of the Finisher. There is a beginning and there is an ending. The prize is given at the ending. Do not quit, do not drop out, do not look back, but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith”.
We need to reach. We need to stretch and be stretched. Pursuing the prize will test our faith, it will “press out of measure, above strength, insomuch that” you may “despair even of life” (cf. II Corinthians 1:8). That is language from the Apostle who pressed through, who persevered, who knew he was in a fight in his “high calling of God”.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7). That is what the Apostle said at the end. May that also be our confession by God’s grace.
“Jesus said, ‘No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God'” (Luke 9:62).
Does this speak to you? Does this challenge you? It speaks to me and challenges me. I hear the words of Caleb at 84 years old saying, “Give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day” (Joshua 14:12). These words Caleb spoke when as yet the Anakims were still there and had to be defeated. And by the hand of the Lord they were defeated and Caleb received that mountain as an inheritance with the blessing of Joshua (cf. Joshua 14:13).
Press on, pursue, give yourself to your calling. The prize awaits at the end to the faithful.