I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 3:14
These are words from the apostle Paul. He’s writing them from prison to believers in the city of Philippi. Most people in prison aren’t so positive, but the apostles of Jesus Christ were a special breed.
Paul encountered one obstacle after another in his ministry for Christ – prison being just one. In another of his letters, he gave some specifics:
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
– 2 Corinthians 11:24-27
And this is a partial list!
All this, yet Paul was declaring to the Philippians, “I press on toward the goal for the prize…” It was a “prize” he was after! And what was that prize? It was all that came to those who pursued “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” You could even say that the prize was the “call” itself.
Remember that Jesus Himself said:
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
– Luke 5:32 (emphasis added)
We’ve been called…up…to something higher and better. We’ve been called to life with God – our Creator.
Too many of us have thought that life was to be lived without God – that He put us here but then practically left us on our own. God came to earth as Jesus of Nazareth to demonstrate for us that life without God is neither necessary nor desirable. In fact, life without our Creator is not life at all – it’s just existence.
Jesus Christ lives to bring about the reunion of Creator and creature – one creature at a time!
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, You have not rejected us. Rather, You have called us to Yourself through Christ. Since You are calling us to forsake our lusts and sins, show me how I can respond to Your call in the day that is before me…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)