Jan 01

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The Prize

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phi. 3:14).
In the verse’s context, the Scriptures picture us as being in a race. In our race, as in a foot-race, we do not pause to dwell upon the ground behind us (which we have already covered) in a manner which would cause us to slack up and stumble.
True, we can properly contemplate our past “performance” (Eph. 2:11) which can encourage us to continue in good works and to assure us that we are capable of such; but, we should not glory in them in such a way that would cause us to trust in our past endeavors to take us to the end of our race (without doing any future works) (Phi. 3:13).
Rather, we are to be “stretching forward to the things that are before.” The one in the foot-race still has ground to cover; and so do we! He is not finished until he crosses the finish line; nor are we! No matter how good he has run the race thus far, he must continue to run the race and continue to run good if he hopes to win the prize; and so must we!
As we enter into another year (as man reckons time), may we dwell upon our past accomplishments only to the extent that (1) we may be encouraged to continue in good works, and (2) that we may be assured that we are capable of accomplishing such works (and more!) in the future.
Let us not glory and rest upon past accomplishments; rather, let us stretch to that which we are capable, and earnestly “press toward the goal unto the prize.”
The prize of the ancient runner was a crown or garland of branches and leaves, but the prize of the faithful Christian is an incorruptible crown of life in heaven (1 Cor. 9:25; Jas. 1:12).
As we begin another “lap” in our race, let’s keep the prize clearly affixed in our mind. Heaven is a place of rest (Rev. 14:13), of joy (Luke. 15:7, 10) and of righteousness (2 Pet. 3:13). It is a better place (Heb. 10:34), and a glorious place (Rom. 8:18) where there is no death nor even any pain (Rev. 21:4) nor any cause for sorrow (Rev. 7:17; 21:4). We will be free from wickedness (Rev. 22:15), darkness (Rev. 22:5) and mortality (1 Cor. 15:42, 50). It is our reward (Mat. 5:11-12)—our prize.
Thus, this year (and every year thereafter) let us “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Gary Henson

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