I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12–14, NIV 1984).
My Musings – In my pre-teen years, I was in a bicycle race with an older brother and a neighbor friend. I say race because I was racing them. I am not so sure they were racing me. But at that age, being ahead of an older brother in a race feels real good. Looking back over my left shoulder I yelled, “I’m winning, I’m winning!”
It’s never a good idea to gloat, at least until the race is over. This time was no exception. Turning my head left caused my arms to turn right. And with them the handle bars of my bike, which naturally caused the front wheel to turn and the bike to veer to the right.
I am sure I must have caused that parked car to move forward, but my bicycle came to an immediate and abrupt halt. I did not. I flew over the handlebars and onto the trunk of the parked car. Cars sure were built a lot sturdier back in the mid-sixties.
This was my first ever experience of having the wind knocked out of me. My gleeful crowing of “I’m winning, I’m winning” was replaced with a gasping crying of “I’m dying, I’m dying!” I thought I was. It could have been a lot worse, but by the grace of God, it was not. And it was a lesson learned.
In our Spiritual race, the only legitimate reason for looking back is for the lessons learned. In all other respects we must forget what is behind and keep straining toward the prize. Otherwise, we risk veering off course and getting the Spiritual wind knocked out of us. Until the race is over, we should never feel like we have yet “taken hold of it.“
My Advice – If you are “in Christ,” He has already taken hold of you (your justification). Now it is up to you to take hold of Him (your sanctification). Prizes are awarded after the race is over (your glorification). Run to win the prize. “I won! I won!” is much better than “I’m winning! I’m winning!”