“But this 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 3:13, 14
A photo in today’s sports section of our newspaper depicted the above verse in a dramatic way. Five men in a 100-meter sprint were pressing toward the goal with all their strength. They all wanted to win the race. Their heads bent forward, their faces reflecting their determination, and every muscle in their body taunt.
That photo also illustrates the Apostle Paul’s life purpose — pressing on to win the race.
After putting the newspaper down I pondered these verses, wondering what they mean for us. The Life Application Bible offered the following explanation:
“Our Goal as believers: We train ourselves to run the race of life. So we keep our eyes on Christ — the goal — and don’t get sidetracked or slowed down. When we do this, we will win a reward in Christ’s kingdom.”
“Living the Christian life demands all of our energy. We can forget the past and strain for the goal because we know Christ promises eternity with him at the race’s end.”
“The Christian life is a fight against evil forces from without and temptations from within. If we stay true to God through it all, he promises an end, a rest, and a crown”.
“As we must repeat exercises to tone our bodies, so we must steadily repeat spiritual exercises to be spiritually fit. When we do this, we will be better Christians, living in accordance with God’s will. Such a life will attract others to Christ and pay dividends in this present life and the next.”
What are these spiritual exercises? Six form the acronym GROWTH.
Go to God in prayer daily (John 15:7).
Read God’s Word daily (Acts 17:11).
Obey God moment by moment (John 14:21).
Witness for Christ by your life and words (Matthew 4:19).
Trust God for every detail of your life (1Peter 5:7).
Holy Spirit — Allow Him to control and empower your daily life and witness (Galatians 16,17; Acts 1:8).
I challenge you to make these spiritual exercises a daily workout. Press on to win the heavenly goal.
Father, so often we focus more on exercising our physical body than exercising our spiritual life. Thank You for Your promise that You will help us do it (Philippians 2:13). Help us become spiritually fit. Amen.
Six days before His death, Jesus went to the village of those who loved Him most.
It was His last Sabbath; the first day of His last week on this earth.
And He chose to spend it with those He loved.
Simon, the Leper (whom Jesus healed) held a supper for Him in His honor.
Simon knew the threat that hung over Jesus’ head.
He knew the religious leaders’ instructions that if anyone knew where He was, they were to report it.
He knew the danger of numbering Himself with Jesus.
But he expressed his love for Jesus anyway.
By honoring Him publicly. . .and boldly.
True to form, Martha served.
The words “Martha served” were a fitting addition to the description of this entire scene.
She was serving the Lord for the two most important reasons:
Love for Christ.
And to Honor HIM.
Martha was loving Him with pure, selfless service.
“Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him” — a living example of the power of God.
We have no word of anything Lazarus said.
But we don’t need one.
His life was testimony enough.
He loved Christ by simply BEING. . . a man “who had been dead, whom [Jesus] raised from the dead.” (John 12:1)
But Mary topped all the love in the room with a love that couldn’t be missed.
She anointed the Lord.
And the odour from the ointment filled the room.
Jesus called it a “good work.”
And, again, Mary had “chosen the good part.”
It didn’t matter that Jesus was anointed for His burial at this point in the week.
It didn’t add anything to the ‘work’ HE was about to do.
The Lord didn’t need this anointing.
And it had no meritorious nature in it for Mary.
But Jesus praised her work. . . because of the love that was behind it.
“God, needing nothing, considers in our works ONLY the love that accompanies them.” – Brother Lawrence
Mary received the praise of Jesus because of the love that accompanied her ‘work.’
And her sacrificial act of love was recorded as a memorial to her.
And it is still mentioned today.
Four people expressed their love for Jesus.
In their own unique way.
And without saying a word.
And what we’re to remember the most about these individuals is . . .
What they did to honor Him at that supper.
What they did to show their love and devotion to Him.
The same thing He wants others to remember about you and me.