REACH FORWARD – 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead… Philippians 3:13 NKJV
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV
Today’s passage gives another sports analogy of Paul’s pursuit of Christ. It’s not a casual hobby for him!
Our society is very familiar with sacrifice for sports. Even kids at very young ages are extremely committed to practice regimens, traveling schedules, and training programs. When people determine what it is they want, whether it’s a sports achievement or something else, they commit to it. They make all kinds of sacrifices to get it. A person who wants to lose weight changes eating habits and commits to strict workout routines. A person who wants a new car signs that dotted line and does whatever it takes to make the payment each month.
Think about something you’ve wanted in life. What sacrifices have you made to get there?
Paul determined that his walk with Christ was just as serious as any other training or commitment. When is the last time you scheduled to spend time with the Lord and did not miss? Do you let other things get in the way of your church attendance or are Sunday mornings blocked for worship? Is tithing a priority in your budget or is it something you do if there is leftover?
If we want something bad enough, we’ll commit, schedule, and do whatever it takes to get there.
Human nature is to fight for what we want. If we want something bad enough, we’ll commit, schedule, and do whatever it takes to get there. When we reach forward and run toward honoring God, we’ll receive “a crown that will last forever,” not just here on this earth. That will be so worth it!
– Take some time to think about things you’ve sacrificed for. Do you want to honor God as bad as you wanted those things? If not, confess that to the Lord and ask Him to change your heart and to give you a desire for what pleases Him. Commit to putting Him first in your schedule and budget. Fight to keep those commitments, just like you would a commitment to anything else.
– Pray for your brothers and sisters in the Liberty family. Pray that they would value God above all else. Encourage each other to commit to things that honor God and to follow through on those commitments. Pray that we would be faithful in spending time with the Lord, in attending a Connect Group, in attending a weekly worship service, and in sharing the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus. May we be always reaching forward for the things of God!
– Pray about what the Lord would have you commit to the Forward initiative at Liberty.