Read: Philippians 3:7-17
Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23-24; John 15
One thing I do . . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:13-14
When Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert died, a fellow journalist wrote of him: “With all his notoriety, honors, and celebrity, all his exclusive interviews and star-dusted encounters with movie greats, Ebert never forgot the essence of what we do—review movies. And he reviewed them with an infectious zeal and probing intellect” (Dennis King, The Oklahoman).
The apostle Paul never forgot the essence of what God wanted him to be and do. Focus and enthusiasm were at the heart of his relationship with Christ. Whether he was reasoning with philosophers in Athens, experiencing shipwreck in the Mediterranean, or being chained to a Roman soldier in prison, he focused on his calling to know “Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” and to teach about Him (Phil. 3:10).
While he was in prison, Paul wrote, “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” (3:13-14). Whatever his circumstances, Paul continually pressed forward in his calling as a disciple of Christ.
May we always remember the essence, the heart, of who we are called to be and what we are called to do as followers of Jesus. —David C. McCasland
Father, may I be willing to do what I can with all that I have, wherever I am.
Paul was in earnest over one thing only, and that was his relationship to Jesus Christ. Oswald Chambers
INSIGHT: In the verses preceding today’s reading (see vv. 4-6), Paul describes his credentials—his “confidence in the flesh”—including his religious upbringing, his ethnic heritage, his zeal, and a lifetime of devotion to the law of Moses. However, all of this is nothing compared to knowing Christ and receiving the gift of salvation (vv. 7-8).