Today’s Key Verses:
10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12Not 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. 13Brothers, 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, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I am an extremely competitive person. And I love to win! No matter what I’m doing, it seems that I’m always trying to be number 1. Just the other night I was playing Wii Sports with a 9-year old and found myself doing whatever I could to beat him at bowling. I won the first game and lost the second. Without even thinking about it, I found myself saying “Best out of three!” trying whatever I could to come out victorious.
But I lost.
Being a competitive person, it is difficult for me to sometimes view God through the eyes of His “first will be last and last will be first” mentality. But yet since that’s what Jesus did for me, I must humble myself and do my best to live accordingly (except for video games!).
With all that in mind, it is extremely comforting for me – and for you – to read in today’s key verses that there is one prize and one race that we are guaranteed to win. And the whole thing is actually rigged to where we can’t lose! Because we are in Christ Jesus, we are guaranteed the victory in what God has called us to do with our lives.
There is one word, though, that must not be overlooked – straining. Life will at times be a strain. Jesus promised us the victory but never promised it would be all that easy. I believe that is why Paul uses the analogy here of an athlete who must work hard to reach the goal of victory.
When you think about your life, think about that which causes you the most strain. Then praise God that no matter what happens in that area of your life, he has promised you the ultimate victory and the end of life. That is an unbelievable hope that will help you get through the strain.
Ask God to give you the strength to remember this victory when life seems like a strain. Ask Him to help you deal with the hard times by relying on HIS victory and strength rather than trying to do it on your own.
Hurry to the grocery store before the blizzard sets in!