Athlete in Training

Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Paul must have been a real sports fan. Time and again in his writing, he uses metaphors which liken the Christian life to that of an athlete. He tells us to press on, to keep our eyes on the prize, to run the race. Perhaps if he had lived today, he would be a sports commentator.

Like any true sports fan, Paul realized that his goal – to become like Christ – could only be reached with perseverance. He knew that he must eliminate everything in his life which would distract him from this goal. Everything, everything that he allowed into his life could only be there for one purpose: to help him accomplish his mission.

He knew he had a long way to go. He was no different than any of the rest of us – none of us is perfect by a long shot. But if our goal is to be like Christ, then we must stay focused on that goal. We must eliminate everything in our lives that distracts us from that purpose. And we must press on, press on, through hard work and heavy breathing and sweat and tears and stress and exhaustion, pressing onward and onward toward the prize.

Paul said his goal was to “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Why did Jesus take hold of Paul? Why did He take hold of any of us? Christ took the time, made the sacrifice, and paid the price for my life and for yours so that we could be made perfect. He did it so that we wouldn’t have to keep wallowing in our dirty, smelly, disgusting sin. He wants us to be clean and pure and proud children of God. He wants us to be like Him.

Paul wanted what Christ wanted. Their goals were the same. And our goal should be the same, as well. No, we aren’t there yet. But we will press on. We will keep going. We will cast aside those things which stand in our way, which hinder us on our journeys. We will keep our eyes on the goal that Christ has set for each of us: that we become like Him.

Dear Father, Thank You for setting such a high standard for me. Help me to keep my eyes on You, and nothing else. I want to be like You.


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