Most people who have been a Christian for very long have heard some version of the catchphrase, “Keep your eyes on the prize.” That prize, of course, is heaven. The concept comes from Philippians just after Paul has written about sharing in Christ’s resurrection.
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.
He longed to “know Christ and the power of His resurrection” and knew that he would never fully realize that until he was home in Heaven. And he wanted to run the race well, so he “kept his eyes on the prize!’
I began thinking about this earlier tonight when I walked Ryan to karate so that he could test for his next belt. My husband is working and had the only working car. I did try to get us a ride, but was unsuccessful. He has waited about a month to be able to take this test and I didn’t want him to have to wait longer! So I loaded the boys in our wagon, wrapped everyone in coats, gave them a snack to occupy their minds and mouths, and headed out.
It was dark by this time, but my path was through a fairly well traveled part of town, so I figured that it would be well lit. Most of the time it was. There were a few dark places that caused me some fear, but I prayed for protection and comfort and pressed on. I could have turned around at either of those places. They weren’t quite halfway to my goal. But I was determined to make it. I was determined not to let the fear control me. (And as a side note, it was fear. Not irrational fear as we humans see things, but also not the discernment of the Spirit.) So I let the determination drive me. I had a goal and though I was afraid, cold, and tired I kept pressing on.
That’s not the thought that really hit home for me tonight, though. It was the way in which I kept pressing on. I didn’t just lazily stroll down the way and make it there when I made it there. I hustled! I didn’t stop unless I was crossing a road. I didn’t look back. I had one thing in mind and I went for it as quickly as I could.
Now if I think about my spiritual life, which we often call a walk, but Paul also likened to a race, am I hustling towards the finish line? Or am I moseying along letting every thought or idea draw me away from the race? Am I taking detours instead of crossing the road? Am I stopping to look back? Sadly, I think that too often we Christians just sit back and enjoy the ride. I know that I do. Far too often. Facebook, reading (even “Christian” books), cleaning the house, work, and so many things get my attention, my focus, and that causes me to slow my race.
How is your race? Where is your focus? I hope and pray that He will grant me immense grace in drawing my focus to Him throughout my days. I pray that for you, too. May we be like the creatures that Ezekiel describes in the first chapter, “Wherever the Spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went.” (verse 12)