The Strain is Real but so is the Prize

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. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Philippians 3:13-16

I was talking with a friend today and I shared with him something he had done in the past that powerfully unleashed a whole swath of ministry that would not have been possible without his faithfulness. We also talked about the struggles and difficulties in the world and in growing older. We both had tears in our eyes as we spoke of Jesus’ return and how he alone can reconcile the strain of faithfully following Jesus in this life with the ultimate blessing of being with Jesus forever. This is our joy and our hope.
Paul speaks of his ongoing pursuit of Christ-likeness as the strain that is worth it. He commends the Philippians to continue this pursuit and Paul is confident that they will come to the same conclusion, that serving and even suffering for the sake of Christ is the best objective.
As we remember this, as we “hold true to what we have attained.”, we will grow ever closer to the ultimate goal.
Isn’t this what we want others to see, that we are convinced of the sufficiency of Christ’s work and love for us and are committed to being like him? Pursuing this goal in all the areas of our life will make us mature Christians and draw us to ever closer trust in Jesus.

O God,
Help us to focus all that we are on Christ’s example. Let us be more and more like Jesus in our humble service to others. Thank you for the church, which nurtures in all of us a spirited pursuit of God’s way for the sake of his name. Encourage us with these words. Amen
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