Day 9

Reaching Forward

from the Philippians reading plan

Philippians 3:12-16, Colossians 3:1-4, Romans 8:28-30, 1 Corinthians 9:24

BY Missy Fuller

It was the state meet qualification race and I wanted the prize: my name on the record board in the field house. A freshman in high school, I was competing on the varsity track team against girls who were older, stronger, and faster than myself. I had a history of tripping over my own two feet, yet here I was, about to run 300 yards while leaping over hurdles.

The gun went off and I quickly fell into stride. I had no idea where I was in the race because of the staggered start, but I kept running. As I hit the final straightaway, I could feel my legs begin to burn. My breath was short and heavy and I wanted to slow down. Straightening out, I realized I couldn’t see any of the other runners— meaning I was out front!

I dug as deep as my fifteen-year-old self could dig. I ran and hurdled that last 100 yards like my life depended on it. I ran to get the prize.

I’m still running these days, but I don’t always run with that same fire. Sometimes I try to hit a time goal in a half marathon, but now, it doesn’t make sense to try to place in a big race. I don’t run for “the prize” anymore. In fact, most races, I don’t even know what the prize is.

As much as I hate to admit it, my current approach to running often parallels the way I approach my spiritual life: still running, but not always running in a way to get the prize. Many days I lose sight of what the prize even is. Paul knew I’d need a reminder:

I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:14

As Christ followers, our prize is being made complete in the likeness of Christ. Yes, this takes a lifetime of following Jesus and allowing Him to work in our hearts and lives. But this truly is the only thing that matters. What could be more worthwhile?

Our relationship with God is what will last through eternity. If we have nothing else on this earth, we have Jesus. He promises to be with us and to complete the good work He began in our lives (Philippians 1:6).

Following Christ isn’t always easy. At times it’s even painful. Sometimes, He asks us to do things that don’t make sense, don’t feel good, or don’t agree with worldly wisdom. But friends, the insurmountable joy of knowing Him will always be greater than our pain and suffering, greater than our struggle and heartache.

We are in the race, but we are not in it alone!

I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:12

Christ has taken hold of us! He is already working in us to perfect us and make us like Himself.

Jesus doesn’t expect our perfection. He doesn’t demand that we never falter or slow down, or never fall flat on our faces. He has already made up for our deficiencies. He only asks that we keep our eyes fixed on Him and our bodies running hard after the goal. And He Himself promises to hold us, especially when we lose our strength.

Like Paul, we have not yet attained our prize, but we can rest in the confidence that our God is working in us. So let’s faithfully run hard after the prize. Run hard after Jesus.

Run in such a way to win the prize.
-1 Corinthians 9:24

Post Comments (105)

105 thoughts on "Reaching Forward"

  1. E Hong says:

    I pray that I can set my eyes on what truly matters in this world and the best prize that anyone could get. Even when it doesn’t make sense

  2. E Hong says:

    i pray that i may always run and strive hard for Jesus instead of giving just half amount of effort. it’s amazing how God is working in us -Ellie

  3. Sharon Ide says:

    I have always found so much joy in the twin truths of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. May we press on, to lay hold of that which Christ has already laid hold of for us!

  4. BlessedandFavored says:

    My strength comes from knowing God is with me in this race. AMEN

  5. Cassidy F says:

    I’m finding myself aching for a season of life I’ve not yet reached- motherhood. It is not our time yet, but I know God will be faithful to prepare my husbands heart and bring him into the season of readiness He has brought me to already. I find it so easy to sit in discontentment about where we are now, but this passage reminded me to keep going, keep walking forward in love and gratitude, knowing that the Lord is faithful and that He is what I’m truly aching for inside.

    1. Larissa says:

      I can relate ❤️ Thank you for sharing!

  6. Jamie Vandegriff says:

    As a mom, there are a lot of days I feel like a failure…so many things I could have done differently throughout the day. But this passage reminds me to forget what happened yesterday and to keep my focus on Jesus, and that because of his work in my life, he can grow me as a mom, wife and woman.

    1. Lwest says:

      Well said Jamie, I feel the same way. Praise God we can look ahead instead of behind & have his strength to keep us there.

    2. SB says:

      Thank you Jamie! I needed to hear that! Last night o was in tears over being a horrible mom. A bad weekend of mothering! I have to let it go and move on! Keep going! Thanks!

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