“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
This is such a great picture of the Christian life: pressing on toward the goal. We are running a race. We haven’t made it to the finish line yet, so we don’t kid ourselves in thinking that we have. We don’t bask in the victories of the past. We don’t dwell on yesterday’s defeats. We forget about those distractions because we are too busy with today. We’ve got a stretch of road ahead of us that requires all our attention, and we’re trying to reach the goal and get the prize which is our salvation.
Sometimes we may think we didn’t get very far in a day. We may even feel like we lost ground (and we may have). But the point of this verse is that we forget that and press on. And the other thing we must realize is that some of our best days, the days in which we actually make the most progress in our Christian life, may be the days that seemed like the biggest duds.
For example, some of you young moms may feel like you didn’t get a thing done all day because all you did was wipe faces and change diapers and read stories and make pbj’s. But what did God see? He saw self-sacrifice and love and much labor bestowed. He saw your children being nourished and trained up, little by little, one more day’s growth and progress.
We often feel like we got a lot accomplished when we have something visible to show for it. But the sum of many days of loving sacrifice will bring a harvest, you’ll see. Your kids will rise up and call you blessed, and then you’ll suddenly realize the impact of those days’ labors.
In all our callings, as we trust God and do the next thing He gives us to do, we are making progress in our spiritual lives. We are learning to exercise our faith more deliberately. We are learning to see our work with the eye of faith and believing that God is doing far more than we know or understand through our obedience.
So don’t stall out. Press on. Don’t be distracted by the past or fearful of the future. The goal is still ahead of us, not behind us. We’re not too late. Push yourself toward the goal. Do the dishes. Sing the baby to sleep. Write that letter to a friend. Do the next thing. That’s what pressing on means.