No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Memory Verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
At times in life, things get overwhelming to a point where we literally just give up on life itself but before giving up, which usually is the last route, we might have been through various options which may have proved unproductive or not made us feel any better but because we have not achieved our desired final outcome, our mind gets to a stage of being totally clouded until we get to that breaking point which is just to pack it in.
Today’s bible reading reflects on Apostle Paul talking about his present life, his aspirations, past and future. We can see that this looks like being on a race with the determination to get to the finishing line at some point. Before Paul’s encounter with God, He was still a man running a race but at this time he was running his own race like many of us are still doing today.
Paul’s previous life before he became an apostle was focused on threatening Christians and the eagerness to kill the Lord’s followers. He was so extreme that he would even address letters to the synagogues in Damascus to have followers arrested and this he did with great passion Acts 9:1-2. Eventually then he had an encounter and all of a sudden, there was a change in direction for Paul. His race changed and he began to do just the opposite of what he was known for doing, he became a disciple and an evangelist.
On earth, its either we are running our own defined race focused on self or running the race focused on and defined by Christ. Every creation on this earth is running some sort of race but we see from Paul’s life that even though he had encountered problems on his new journey of hope, he was not a subscriber to dwelling on the past. He did not sugar quote things by deceiving us that He was living a perfect live and living the dream but he kept pressing on using every day as an opportunity to focus on the race set before him, a race focused on attaining the heavenly prize awaiting him.
There is simply no prize for giving up so giving up is not even an option in any race we run in life and though we may not get there when we desire to or have planned to, the most important thing to do is to keep pressing on. When we run our own race, we are driven by our own timelines and measure success by our own definition and in doing so we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves with those measures. We need to realise that we are unable to guarantee success by our own power so why not focus on pressing on the thing that are really important, focusing on the kingdom of God.
Paul is telling us he has not achieved it yet and still pressing on. He was not an unbeliever and he was not lazy but was still running the race with great focus despite all the challenges he faced. This is so because the more Paul achieves a milestone, the more he realizes it’s just a milestone and the prize is only for full completion. When we think we are perfect and complete, we are really a great distance from perfection, so rise up from that low today and begin to press on. There is no prize for partial completion, the race is on until you attain the prize.
I pray God will help us to run a race focused on Him till the end. It’s not usually about he that started, it’s about he that sees it till the end. Let’s not be like those seeds that fell by the wayside and died out, let us aspire to be the one that brings forth at the end
- Father I thank you for a wonderful word from your throne
- Thank you for your grace and mercies towards me and for giving me life
- I focus on you from today Lord, withholding nothing, help me to run the race set before me with all diligence, hardwork, focus and empowerment from you.
- Thank you for your blessings that endureth forever and your continuous healing on all sides
- You are a faithful God and I thank you for your wonderful works. Help me from today to have a solid relationship with you. A genuine one without selfishness but selflessness.
- I am grateful for the gift of life and for your endless grace
- Forgive my sins o Lord and receive my sacrifice of praise, AMEN.