have taken hold of it. But one thing I do.
Forgetting what is behind and straining
toward what is ahead, I press on toward
the goal to win the prize for which God
has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-13 NIV
What is your goal in life? With the 2014 winter Olympics just around the corner, I am reminded of all the athletes who have set their eyes on the prize of an Olympic gold medal. Many of them have known little else in their lifetime except their love for the sport in which they participate.
Even as young children they practiced for hours a week training their minds and their bodies—leaving everything else behind. For some of them, their hopes and dreams are tied up in a piece of gold hanging from a ribbon and all the fame and fortune that medal might bring.
Unfortunately for the athlete, one twist of the ankle or being one hundredth of a second too slow can often cost her the gold medal and crush her lifetime dreams and goal for the gold.
In Philippians three, the Apostle Paul describes his race and his goal. He describes his lineage, his life and his zeal in persecuting the church. Lest we forget, he was good at what he did. Acts 7:57-58 reminds us that Paul (then named Saul) watched as Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was being stoned to death. Those verses describe the people laying their coats at the feet of Saul. His goal, at that time, was to eradicate Christians.
But Saul had an encounter with Christ and everything in his life changed. His goal changed from persecution of Christians to the presentation of the gospel to all who would listen. The work of his life, his dreams and the beat of his heart became knowing Christ and making Him known to others. He was changed!
What is your goal? Do not be deterred by your past. Look forward and press ahead. There is nothing in your past that can keep you from knowing Christ or from fulfilling the call He has placed on your life. Your sin has not been so great that Christ cannot save you. Your past has not been so black that God cannot turn your life into a positive influence for Christ.
Like the Apostle Paul, when we surrender our life to God through Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, the old man or woman—the person we used to be—begins to disappear as the new man or woman begins to look more and more like Jesus.
Imperfect in this life, our goal is to press forward growing in the knowledge of God, becoming more like Jesus and loving each other like we have never before loved. So today I encourage you. Do not let life just happen to you, but rather forget what is behind and press on toward the goal of being like Jesus.
God is the God of the second chance and as Ann Graham Lotz says, “the no chance, the last chance, the fat chance…” Press on sweet friend. Press on!
© Joyce Powell