Communion with the Risen Christ in Daily Life
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. (V.14)
The world’s fastest animal, the cheetah, displays a tremendous amount of determination and perseverance in its own life. This is evident in its choosing of a specific prey from a group of animals. The cheetah lays its eyes on one specific prey and chooses to go after it until it is caught. In this pursuit, the cheetah will not give up until its own hunger is satisfied and ignores everything else that comes along the way.
Similarly, Paul, in the above verse, compares himself to a runner in a race. He speaks about various aspects of running a race and what it means to run for Jesus. We all know that running takes a great deal of effort, energy, focus, persistence, and perseverance. In our Christian lives, there are times when it’s too hard to run the race. Thus, Paul reminds us that we have to lay aside our past successes and failures in order to possess our future. He encourages us by reminding us of the greatest incentive we have to run and press on – to receive our reward from Christ Jesus at the ‘finish line.’
Therefore, running a race always involves keeping the end goal or the ‘finish line’ in mind. Having a clearly defined goal is always the first step towards finishing a race victoriously. In our lives, having clear and defined goals will help us to live successfully. A life without well-defined goals is like a ship without a captain, a map, or a compass. As Paul says, God has a specific goal for each one of us, and discovering this goal is our responsibility. This process not only requires determination and perseverance but also requires us to make Jesus the captain of our ship, to make the Bible the map that we read, and to make our prayer life the compass that points us in the right direction. When all of this is put together, we will be able to work towards reaching our life’s ‘destination.’
Johnson Oatman jr. captures the spirit of pressing towards the goal in his 1898 hymn, Higher Ground:
I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining everyday;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord plant my feet on higher ground.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for blessing our lives and giving us a purpose and goal to pursue. Help us to run our life’s race without losing focus or becoming weary. We pray that we will be able to finish this race with you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Thought for the Day: In the race of life, it’s always too soon to quit.
Mrs. Neethi Prasad, St. Stephen’s Mar Thoma Church, New Jersey