Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on. Philippians 3:13–14
On a run in the forest, I tried to find a shortcut and went down an unfamiliar path. Wondering if I was lost, I asked a runner coming the other way if I was on the right track.
“Yup,” he replied confidently. Seeing my doubtful look, he quickly added: “Don’t worry, I’ve tried all the wrong routes! But that’s okay, it’s all part of the run.”
What an apt description of my spiritual journey! How many times have I strayed from God, given in to temptation, and been distracted by the things of life? Yet God has forgiven me each time and helped me to move on—knowing I will certainly stumble again. God knows our tendency to go down the wrong path. But He’s always ready to forgive, again and again, if we confess our sins and allow His Spirit to transform us.
Paul too knew this was all part of the faith journey. Fully aware of his sinful past and current weaknesses, he knew he had yet to obtain the Christlike perfection he desired (Philippians 3:12). “But one thing I do,” he added, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on” (vv. 13–14). Stumbling is part of our walk with God: it’s through our mistakes that He refines us. His grace enables us to press on, as forgiven children.
What mistakes can you confess to God today? How can His assurance of forgiveness help you to press on in your walk of faith?
Thank You, God, for Your mercy. Help me to lead a life that pleases You, knowing that Your Spirit is working in me to transform me into Your Son’s likeness.
Explore classes to help you grow on your spiritual journey.
The book of Philippians features several connections with Acts 16. In Acts 16, Paul was in a Philippian jail because of his witness for Jesus (vv. 19–24), but the apostle didn’t allow his imprisonment to stop his witness for Him (vv. 25–34). Philippians was written from a Roman jail and, once again, the gospel was advanced through Paul, the prisoner (Philippians 1:12–14). While the geographical venue was different, the situation was the same—jail time for speaking about Jesus. The apostle was transformed from a Pharisee and persecutor of Christ and His church (3:5–6) to one who wholeheartedly testified, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). Furthermore, Paul’s passionate pursuit of Jesus warranted the use of the athletic metaphor of an undistracted runner in pursuit of a prize (3:13–14). For Paul, Christ was the prize!