‘I press toward the mark for the prize of the HIGH CALLING of God in Christ Jesus’. Philippians 3:14.
The prize that the Lord Jesus has for every faithful believer is a HIGH CALLING. We are called to ‘ever be WITH the Lord’. 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
The Word of God also clearly teaches us that believers will receive varying rewards for our faithfulness to Him and His Word while we live out our lives on this earth.
‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone [all believers] may receive the things done in his/her body, according to that he/she hath done, whether it be good or bad.’ 2 Corinthians 5:10.
See also Romans 14:10 and 1 Corinthians 3:13. Believers will face a time of evaluation when our ‘works’ will be tested. Some will be seen to be ‘wood’, ‘hay’ and ‘stubble’. These will be ‘burned up’. Those which are seen to be ‘gold’ and ‘precious’ will receive a reward. Our attitude to the Word of God is crucial in determining whether we produce that which can be ‘burned’ or that which will last and earn the ‘reward’ promised.
The Bible gives us some clear guidelines on how we should ‘run’ our race. Note it is ‘our’ race. By this I mean each of us has our own race to run. When you read through Philippians chapter three notice how often Paul uses the personal pronoun, ‘I’. He is describing his personal attitude to running his personal race. He offers this as an example for us to follow, but he is describing ‘his’ race. We need to follow this example of single-minded dedication and devotion to running ‘our’ personal race in a similar fashion. In verse 15 he invites us to do this with these words,
‘Let US THEREFORE, as many as be perfect/mature, be THUS minded…’ Philippians 3:15.
Here are eight guidelines that are used in the Bible in connection with running our race that can be very helpful to each one of us. I have taken these principally from the three principle passages where the metaphor of running a race is used to illustrate the Christian life.
1. ‘Forget’ the past. Philippians 3:13. I.e. the mistakes, failures, disappointments of yesterday. Paul had plenty of these –as do we all.
2. ‘Press on or toward the mark’. Philippians 3:14.
3. ‘Run to win/obtain’. 1 Corinthians 9:25. ‘…they (the athletes in a race) do it to obtain a corruptible crown; BUT WE AN INCORRUPTIBLE.’
4. Be ‘temperate’ in ALL things. 1 Corinthians 9:25, ‘And everyman that striveth for the mastery is TEMPARATE IN ALL THINGS…’ Temperate means ‘self-controlled’.
5. Be conscious of the Lord’s PRESENCE all the time. Philippians 3:8-10, Ephesians 3:17, Acts 2:25, Hebrews 11:27.
6. Lay aside EVERY WEIGHT. Hebrews 12: 1. Many things can weigh us down. We need to travel light through this world. Don’t get cluttered up with the ‘things of this life’. 2 Timothy 2:4.
7. Lay aside ‘ENSNARING SIN’. Hebrews 12:1 lists these two things that can drag us down and trap us. Consider also Luke 21: 34-35 in connection with this.
8. Don’t QUIT! Stick with it. ENDURE. Hebrews 12:1-2. ‘run with PATIENCE…Looking unto Jesus…who… ENDURED…’
In anticipation of the JOY SET BEFORE US… Hebrews 12:2, ‘…for the JOY SET BEFORE HIM…’ Let us follow His example…