“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14, ESV
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi, he gives us insight into his personal walk with the Lord. You could call it a “formula for success” or as I prefer, “keys to success in our walk with the Lord.”
THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS IN 2020
1. Release the past. The Apostle Paul said, “….But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind….” (Vs. 13). He is not saying that he actually lost memory of the past, he is saying that he put the past in the proper place–behind him! He knew that the past can cause us to lose focus on the present and block our vision of the future. He knew that the past can sometimes riddle us with guilt, lure us, haunt us, taunt us, rob us of intensity and passion, and even cause us to rest on our laurels. Regardless of what we faced in 2019, let’s learn, let go, and move forward.
2. Reach for the future. Paul seems to say, “don’t look back, but BE SURE to look forward.” He describes it as “…..straining toward what is ahead.” I can remember running my first 10K race when I was 30-yrs.-old. Because of my excitement, I started the race at a pace that was too fast for my fitness level. As a result, my side began to hurt at mile 3 and I desperately wanted to stop and walk. At that point, I saw my wife standing on the side of the road, so I didn’t want to quit in front of her. Somehow, I kept plodding along and shortly after I passed the 5-mile marker, I saw the finish line about a mile away. Something about seeing the finish line lifted my spirits and injected bounce in my step. I finished fairly strong even though I had almost stopped to walk just a few miles earlier. Paul seems to say that he keeps the finish line in view and it encourages him to do his best. With the help of the Holy Spirit, let’s set some goals for 2020–spiritual goals, financial goals, vocational goals, fitness goals, nutritional goals. Let’s “reach” for those goals day-by-day throughout this new year.
3. Run for the prize. What is Paul talking about when he talks about “the prize”? We know he is not saying that we can live in such a way that we earn salvation because he just said in Vs. 9 that righteousness is “through faith in Christ.” I believe Paul is saying that he is running for the goal of pleasing Jesus with his life and running for the satisfaction of knowing that he gave his best. He is saying what he later says in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” If God tarries His coming and if He allows us to live to see 2021, I pray that we will be able to say the same about the way we served the Lord in 2020.
PRAYER: “Lord, please help us remember the lessons you taught us in 2019, but Lord, help us to release last year and not relive it. Help us to see Your plan and goals for 2020 and strain towards them in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to cherish your divine approval as our highest prize! Be glorified in our lives! Amen.”