Run the Race to Win—Day 3
Philippians 3: 12-14
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”
I personally enjoy watching track and field events, particularly the 100-yard dash. I have watched many races, and a few things seem certain regarding every winner— each athlete is focused on running the race; each athlete is determined to win the race; and each athlete is giving all they have in the race.
The race is the priority. To run while focusing on something else is a sure way to lose the race. Winning the race is the goal of every determined runner and nothing is more important at that time. The final thing that is obvious, each runner is in the race giving all they have. When the starter gun goes off, each athlete uses every nerve and muscle in their body to help them obtain their goal.
The focus of today’s devotional text uses language that was known to those familiar with the games. Paul knew his audience had an appreciation for the games and would clearly understand his message. It is impossible to win the race if we are not giving all we have to the race.
How often are we lackadaisical in our relationship with Jesus Christ? It is hard to have a healthy relationship with anyone if we are not putting forth adequate effort. Marriages become filled with tension, close friends become alienated acquaintances, and healthy work environments can become hostile situations when we don’t properly invest in these relationships.
It is odd to observe professing believers behave as if an active, vibrant relationship with Christ will occur by coincidence.
Paul’s attitude is that he will not leave anything up to coincidence.
To make sure that didn’t happen Paul says, “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Paul is saying, I am focused, determined, and giving all I have to obtain this prize.
To forget in Greek is, ĕpilanthanŏmai, ep-ee-lan-than´-om-ahee; the overall thought is to dismiss from one’s mind; or to stop remembering. What did Paul have to forget that would hinder him? We don’t know for sure. Perhaps the writer wanted the readers to investigate our lives and see what we allow to hinder us from running successfully.
Many of us are fully aware of what we are holding on to. Maybe the good ole days, or perhaps past failures. Whatever it is, Paul says, “I forget about them and reach forward.”
To reach forward in Greek is, ĕpĕktĕinŏmai, ep-ek-ti´-nom-ahee; the word conveys the thought of one exerting themselves to the full length. Giving all they have to give.
Paul is saying, ‘Not only will I leave all I have on the track, as it were, but I intend to catch what I am pursuing.’
As we meditate on this thought, what would it do for all of our relationships to live and love like this?
Lord, grant us the discipline to pursue you with every nerve and muscle in our body, Amen.
Strong, J. (2009). A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Vol. 1, p. 30). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Strong, J. (2009). A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Vol. 1, p. 31). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.