December 31 — Pressing on the Upward Way (Philippians 3:13-14 Phillips)

            Philippians 3:13-14: “My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.”

            My homemade translation from the Greek text for this verse reads:

            Verse 13: “Brethren, I am not considering myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing: I am forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forward to what is laying ahead.”

The apostle Paul is passionate in his purpose.

We could interpret this as: “I still haven’t reached the pinnacle of Christian perfection. I am not all that I should be, nor have I accomplished all I have outlined in the previous verses.”

“But one thing: I am forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forward to what is laying ahead.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (Phillips): “We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down but we are never knocked out!”

F.B. Meyer says: “If we could press on, we must learn to forget. Don’t look back and quote these things as your highest, lest, like Lot’s wife, you be petrified and unable to advance.”

Shakespeare said:  “What’s gone and past help should be past grief.”

Winston Churchill described it this way: “If the present quarrels with the past, there can be no future.”

My homemade translation from the Greek text for verse 14 reads:

            Verse 14: “I am pressing onward toward the goal for the prize of the call from above of God in Christ Jesus.”

This is a picture of going all out for the finish. Paul is giving everything he has as he races straight toward the goal.

Awake , my soul, stretch every nerve,

And press with vigor on.

A heavenly race demands thy zeal,

And an immortal crown.

Simon of Cambridge in his old age said:  “I cannot but run with all my might, for I am close to the goal.”

Let’s celebrate the closing of this year with a passionate desire to be pressing on the upward way. Please join me in singing verses 1 and 2 of “Higher Ground”: “I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining ev’ry day; Still praying as I’m onward bound, ‘Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.’ My heart has no desire to stay Where doubts arise and fears dismay; Tho’ some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground. Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s tableland, A higher plane that I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”