Pressing on toward the prize

Published 6:25 pm Saturday, January 6, 2024

By Dean Kelley

Minister, Highland Home Church of Christ

I have often heard basketball coaches tell their players “Next Play!” Maybe they made a mistake, a bad pass, a wild shot, a foul that didn’t need to happen, etc. What the coach means is let that one go and go on to the next play. In basketball you don’t have time to celebrate a good play either. You have to return to defense if you make that three! You have to move on to the next play.

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In Philippians 3 Paul talks about all the advantages he had before he became a Christian. He then says that he willingly counted all of that as “rubbish” as he came to Christ (vs. 8-9). Then he states the following, beginning in verse 12:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul says that he has learned not to live in what has been, but instead to press on toward his final goal in Jesus. When he wrote these words he was in prison for preaching the gospel. He is determined to let go of the past, both the good and the bad, and move on.

As we begin the year 2024, may we keep on pressing on. One major theme of the scriptures is to “stay faithful”, to keep-on-keeping-on. Remember that yesterdays are gone, tomorrows only a mist of promise, so make today the day that we keep on pressing on.

Always head for Jesus and His cross, no matter what comes.