I press on toward the goal ...
I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:10-14 NLT
This passage reminds me of the story of Derek Redmond running the 400 meters semi-final race at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Derek was favored to win yet halfway into the race he tore his hamstring. Refusing to stay down he fought through the pain and, with help from his father, managed to complete a full lap of the track as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. I can imagine heaven on its feet and cheering us on as we get up from a painful fall and press on.
Paul tells us that the key to knowing Christ and experiencing resurrection power is simply: "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead". The imagery is compelling and helps me to understand that knowing Christ is never about the past but about the present. We cannot press on today if our eyes are not fixed ahead - we cannot walk a straight path when we look back. Perseverance is the means by which we answer His heavenly call.
Help us Lord to heed these words. We need your grace to persevere. Open our heart to your call on our lives.