“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
In this passage Paul’s testimony reaches its crescendo with his insatiable desire for the goal and the prize God has called him for. His language shows that for him, Christ was at once, both his goal and his prize. Paul is positively fired with desire to know and to win Christ! He willingly counts all his achievements as nothing, and sees gaining Christ as being beyond compare (see verses 7-11).
Winning isn’t Everything – It’s the Only Thing
Paul was a man of destiny who understood the process of growing and reaching his objective. He worked out his own salvation with God with both the grace and knowledge, that God was working in him the willingness and the ability to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. Paul was inspired and fired with desire to win!
Paul was a man who set goals and worked toward them. He was confident that the Holy Spirit was guiding him through the process, and he understood that growing and walking in the purpose God had for him would not happen automatically. Paul’s determination was fired by his desire for Christ. Like an athlete who endures vigorous conditioning and training, with an eye focused on the prize for winning; Paul counted everything loss, enduring the pressures and persecutions, with a laser like focus on winning Christ!
No one wants you to win the prize of your high calling more than God. He has your prize waiting for you. God has your inheritance in safekeeping awaiting your arrival on the last day. Let your heart be positively fired with desire as Peter’s was: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” ( 1 Peter 1:3-5). Christ is both your goal in life and your infinitely incomparable reward for winning the race!
Value Beyond Measure
Look at obedience as your conditioning and training for the prize. Following Christ is a win win proposition. God called you to a high calling, and is empowering and guiding you toward the finish line. He desires more than anything to see you win, because Christ is your trophy, and you are His! All your training (obeying) is to win, you win Christ and God wins you! Consider what He told Moses; “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” (Exodus 19:5-6).
You Are On The Winning Team
Is it any wonder that Paul had such an insatiable desire to win Christ! Former Green Bay Packers Head Coach Vince Lombardi, once told his team “If you are not fired with enthusiasm, You will be fired with enthusiasm!” He got the most out of his players. Teams sign athletes to temporary contracts to win. The athletes put themselves to the test, pushing their bodies to the limit to win a prize, to be a part of a winning. God has assembled the ultimate winning team – The Church. The Church has been undefeated throughout history – “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
You can’t lose because you’re a player in God’s Kingdom League; “The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all“ (Psalm 103:19). You’re being conditioned by your cooperation with the Holy Spirit (your helper & trainer), and you have already been signed to an eternal contract with a no trade clause!
So follow Paul’s example of praying and working toward your chosen purpose. Give careful thought to how you live and be intentional with your personal growth in living the life God has for you. Learn who you are, what your gifts are, and how you can use them to bless people, and win them to Christ. Stay motivated and keep improving yourself for God’s glory, knowing that your reward is great. Remember that Christ is your prize and you are God’s, Be a team player in your Church, and Be Encouraged! -JSP