Philippians 3:12-16 (NRSV)
12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. 16 Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.
M. Scott Peck begins his book, The Road Less Traveled, with this statement: “Life is hard.” He then goes on to warn his readers that the sooner they surrender to this truth, the happier they will be in the long run. Pain and suffering, loss and grief, frustration and stress, are all simple facts of existence. We don’t turn to the scriptures to discover whether we will suffer. The question has already been answered. We know the answer. Instead, the question we need to be wrestling with is the question of purpose. If your life ended tomorrow, what was your purpose?
The church should be the place that helps you and others answer the question. The church (The Body of Christ) should be the place where you figure out what you need to let go of so you can be prepared for the future and for the end of life. Are you angry? Is there a grudge you continue to hold onto that is eating away at your life? Are you judgmental, insincere, stubborn and resistant to the changes that will help bring the gospel to a new generation? Are you hypocritical in the way you live? Is there a difference between who you are on Sunday morning and the rest of the week? Are there things that you need to change in your life so you can finish the race well?
Do you support others? Do you attempt to make a difference in your community and in the lives of others? Do you support your church with your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and ministry? What will friends and the preacher say about your life at the end? Will they have to pick and choose in speaking about the many contributions that you made or will they have to stretch the truth in order not to embarrass your family and guests?
In the midst of struggling with these questions, Paul urges us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” Life with all of its questions is not easy. We have to rely on Jesus as we run the race that lies before us. It means “straining forward to what lies ahead.” It means focusing on the right things every day. Think about it.