Recently, I joined others in my local church in a new class we are offering. For the next twelve weeks, we are intently seeking ways to honor God through how we take care of our physical bodies. Typically, these sort of things don’t go very well. In our human nature, we divert from “eat or drink for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) when we see the number on the scale drop. Once that moment happens, all of our goals return to vanity and pride. We forget about God, making this step for His honor and the relationship we have with Him, and yes – we even forget about the food worship too. But, here’s the thing: this happens not only with “weight loss” (or anything pertaining to the food/fitness world) goals. Each New Year, we set “attainable” goals for ourselves. Most often, they are goals tied to our time on earth. Today, Paul reminds us of the better goal.
“I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me (Phil. 3:12-13, ERV).”
In the Easy-to-Read translation, we are reminded that while we aren’t what God wants us to be, that’s the goal worth pursuing. While our lives may consist of many earthly plans and pursuits, this is the one that outshines them all.
We are called to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [us] (vv. 12b, NIV)”. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are encouraged to press on in our faith and Christian life. We are not a tribe, without a specific goal in mind. This goal can be described as part of the sanctification process. To “sanctify” something is to set it apart for special use; to “sanctify” a person is to make him holy.
The Apostle Paul knew the necessity of Christ. Earlier in chapter 3, we discovered the richness of Christ that this world cannot compete with. When we count all else as garbage, this is when we can activate this personal goal into our lives. We have to count it all as a loss, for His sake. It is a blessing to know and serve Him on such an intimate level.
Christ is the ultimate goal. Every other goal is laid down, in exchange to make Christ our highest priority. Currently, I am learning the truth of this last statement – to lay down every other goal in exchange for Christ.
As I study and apply the Scriptures to my own life, I am becoming increasingly aware that everything else is worthless. Christ is the only goal worth having. He is the imperishable prize. As we diligently pursue Christ, He will satisfy and stir our affections. As we pursue Christ, we discover how fiercely He has pursued us. Not only the passion of His pursuit, we are also taught the wonderful work of His hands.
As we look to the New Year, let’s set this goal above them all too earnestly pursue Christ. While we’re making such resolutions, let’s aim right now in the present to pursue Christ and His Kingdom supremely.