Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

Pressing on Towards the Prize

by Margaret Silvester

One thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14, NIV

My granddaughter, Anna, was one of the 48,000 runners who attempted the recent 26.2-mile London Marathon, raising money for charity. She broke the record for our family, held by her uncle since 1980, and we were all overjoyed as the TV camera caught her crossing the finishing line. It was a tough race for which Anna trained hard in the preceding months, but she had a joyful finish.

Paul seems to have been an athletics fan. He compares the Christian life to a marathon, making it clear that it is not a quick sprint. It is a life-long commitment with clear guidelines in Scripture as to how the race must be run in order to receive the prize at the end, a crown that will last for ever (1 Corinthians 9:25). Obviously, if a marathon competitor doesn’t finish the race, there is no reward. So, in the Christian race, it’s not how you start the race, but how you finish.

Followers of Jesus are called to centre their lives on Him. This means that we cannot run the race aimlessly, but we are to run with purpose to finish it well. The image of running aimlessly means that we run around in circles, going nowhere.  A Jesus-centred life is a joy-filled life, despite its many difficulties and disappointments. We are called to be single-minded, and to maintain focus and priorities. A doubleminded Christian will be unstable and will not have the stickability to run the race well (James 1:7).

Races have rules that must be obeyed. Rules are clear, and no competitor can set their own rules. Anyone not keeping to the rules is disqualified from the race. In today’s world we are told that if it’s right for you, then do it. We have done away with the plumb line. However, God’s word is all about how to live obedient lives and honour Him. No athlete would run a race carrying baggage. Without baggage he is free to run his best. Many believers are hindered in the race because they carry baggage in the form of sins of the old nature, which stand in the way of real freedom in Christ.

In our text for today, Paul makes it clear that he is not looking back. He is going forward in the race with the prize in view.

Deal with the past and leave it behind. Fix your eyes on Jesus who Himself is the prize. The race is not over until we see Him face to face. Holding on to the past will always hinder your future. You may feel that you’ve been in the race for a long time and the time has come to take things easy. In reality the race that has the eternal prize at the end is not us busily doing things. Jesus never loads us with burdens. He carries our burdens. The race is primarily about being, becoming more and more like Jesus as we get towards the final lap and ‘Cast our crowns before him, lost in wonder, love and praise.’

Margaret Silvester had a career as a teacher prior to being called into full time Christian Ministry with her husband, David, in 1986. They were involved in establishing a Healing Ministry in the local church and Margaret has a passion to see lost and wounded people found and restored. She and her husband joined the Ellel Ministries teaching and ministry team in 2000 after a clear call from God. Margaret`s book "Stepping Stones to the Father Heart of God" has recently been published.


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