“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards 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
Paul writes this letter to the church in Philippi from the prison in Rome. The importance of this letter becomes further magnified as he writes from prison as well as in his old age. Paul’s ministry was characterized by his faith, passion, courage, intellect and most of all his determination. He was called by God to preach the Gospel to the gentiles and so travelled extensively for the sake of his calling. Being in prison, Paul was restricted from his busy travelling. But that didn’t stop his service as he kept himself occupied by writing letters to the churches around, encouraging them to stand strong for Lord Jesus Christ. Paul in this verse encourages the believers through his life, showing how much eager he has to press on towards the goal for which he was called. A man of determination alone can look forward beyond the current hopeless situations, and press on. Paul here talks about the essentials of a life filled with determination. First, he was very clear about the one who called him; second, he also knew the goal for which he was called and third he knew what is necessary to achieve the goal, which is forgetting what is behind. This was the reason behind the determined ministry of Paul and he also urges us believers to be determined as well. The Bible in many places expects us not to lose focus and be determined about our calling. James warns us about the result of double mindedness (James 1:8), and Peter expects us to be clear minded (1 Peter 5:8), and Isaiah shows the importance of a steadfast mind (Isaiah 26:3). God expects his children’s life to be filled with determination and the determination comes from our relationship with Him. Determination can never be possible unless we trust Him and surrender ourselves wholly to Him. Paul also gives us the recipe for determination here that is forgetting what is behind and looking forward. All his painful experiences for the sake of the Gospel could not deter him from moving forward as he considered all as gain. We can never be determined if we continuously look back on our losses. As children of God who had experienced his determined love, let us be determined and move forward for which we are called in Jesus.