Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Ultimate Goal

Swithin Titus
St. John's MTC, NY
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Many people set ambitious goals at the beginning of the year.  The most popular goals people set are to make “on the surface” changes.  Whether its to lose weight or put on muscle, or make more money the idea is that the present self is not good enough.

Goals are good to have. But motivation ultimately guides progress. When athletes achieve anything worth reporting, oftentimes, they credit a number of factors that influenced their success.  Many of them thank their parents who pushed them, friends who had their best interest at heart, and sometimes, just sometimes, they credit their faith and namely God.

As we are firmly moving towards the second half of the year, many take stock in where they have landed on achieving those goals set at the beginning of the year.  Studies suggest that only 46% of the ambitious goal setting crowd will make it to the middle part of the year with their eyes set on the prize.  When asked why so many fail, most of the answers fell into the “slipping back into my old routine” category.

In Philippians chapter 3, Paul reflects on his own life prior to meeting Christ.  Paul interestingly points to his life as a Pharisee and viewing his actions as justified based on the religious doctrine that he knew.  After meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, everything changed for him. 

Verse 14 is the statement of a man who understands the ultimate prize for which he strives for.  Eternal salvation is not gained by religious doctrine, it is achieved through perseverance by faith. 

Paul openly claims “everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things.” (3 vs 8).  At the heart of change is sacrifice. 

Giving up what you know for something ultimately greater is easier said than done. Paul’s faith is what fortified in his mind that he needed to make a change in his life despite his reputation prior to that among his own Jewish people.  He lost more on the surface than any of us could have imagined, giving up his position within his faith community for this great unknown except to him.

Oftentimes, our goals are ambitious because we set them without properly understanding what is required.  We envision the final product and we are lured into thinking that with zero difficulty anything can be achieved.  January 1st is, for many, their road to Damascus moment.  That’s where change is a requirement and becomes necessity.  How strong are we to let go of everything we have had or done, in order to effect the change we want to see in our life? 

In verse 13 Paul offers even better advice to those who find it difficult to push through and fall back into old routines.  He says “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”  That ability to both reflect on his past and deflect for sake of his future shows the spiritual maturity required.

Paul was a Pharisee that could justify his actions in his mind and in the eyes of the public, yet Jesus showed him the error of his ways and turned him to see the truth: the price of salvation is greater than anything he knew.  However, he looked forward, not counting what he lost but at what he had gained.

Let us as Christians also look forward and ahead at the goals we have set.  Let us strive for something greater.  Let us be willing to persevere for those goals.  Let us be willing to sacrifice for those goals and let us be willing to go forward with the understanding that a better person exists if we strive and persevere to the goal that Christ Jesus has set for you.


Father God, guide us so that we may fulfill our goal of doing your will and being faithful to the extension of your kingdom. Amen

20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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