Press on toward the goal!
The beginning of the year brings all sorts of desires, decisions, and declarations of change and improvement. We are going to start good habits and terminate bad ones. While times of reflection and changes are common during birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and such, most people think about who they are and who they want to become at the beginning of the year.
A question that will help you do this is the following:
What one thing, if you started doing it today, would help you make the biggest progress toward your primary goal? Perhaps you might even ask what one thing, if you stopped doing, it would have the same effect?
Of course, having goals to improve are only as good as the primary goal. If your goal is to climb a ladder and you get to the top but find out you are on the wrong wall, what good is it? If your primary goal is to lose weight and be healthier, it is probably going to be a poor secondary goal to set the record for consecutive days of eating Big Macs.
Hopefully if you answered the question about what would move you toward your primary goal, your primary goal was something like “getting to Heaven” or “serving God”. Paul’s mission statement or primary goal from Phil 3 was just that.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:12-14)
Paul in his desire to get to Heaven, to gain the prize, to reach his goal did several things that were born out of his desire to gain Christ and to be found in Him. Two things that he did were first, not to think of himself as already there. By keeping a more humble perspective, Paul was then able to continue pressing on toward the goal. He didn’t pull up, he keep the effort going. The other thing that he did was to forget what was behind him while he pressed on.
The past things in our life have a tendency to affect our present. If we remember past successes, we may feel as if we deserve more than we do. If we remember past failures, the guilt or shame of that may cause us to give up. Paul did not focus on past successes or past failures. He pressed on toward the goal of the prize of the upward calling in Christ.
All this though is an explanation to his audience of how, even though he could have confidence in the flesh, he chose rather to have his trust in Christ. He rejoiced in the Lord, a calm happiness regardless of the efforts necessary to live that life. He does this to encourage his readers to imitate him and those that follow his example. We learn from mentors and Paul encourages us to have them.