What Lies Ahead for Us?

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul, Philippians 3.13-14

Paul sets his focus forward, acknowledging that reflecting the image of Christ is his foremost “prize,” to be won by hard fought battle. Paul would press on, through a mountain of old sins, immense persecution and an unnamed “thorn in the flesh” in order to send the gospel of Christ all over the known world. His eyes were set forward toward the “upward call.”

What is this “upward call?” What has Paul set his eyes on? What lies ahead? We may be tempted to think that Paul is referring to Heaven here. It is not so. The apostle here is writing of the call of Christ—to shine the glory of God in a too often dim world. This is our primary mission and the objective of our upward call. Christ-likeness.

The glory that was set before the apostles was achieved. Most were killed for their faith—but not before creating so many shockwaves through their culture that they fundamentally changed the world forever for the cause of Christ. We can do the same right where we are.

To attain to this kind of glory we have to be willing to be open to the will of God and zoom out to see the big picture. We have to  open our eyes to see the hand of God and how He has given us time and opportunity to grow spiritually, in number and even in resources as we have obtained the new building amidst a time of great duress.

The question is this—shall we say we have risen to the occasion? Perhaps. Greater though, let’s say that God has revealed his love and favor to us and blessed us so much. What will we do with these new blessings? Will we have the courage to move in faith? Let’s “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” together. Now is our time.

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Cain Atkinson

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