Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is a compact letter so full of deep wisdom and practical direction. One of my favorite verses in this little gem is the last part of the 13 – 14th verses of chapter 3:
“… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me …” (Philippians 3:13b – 14a, NIV)
Written by Paul around the first century, it still holds truth today. Did you know that Paul had a chronic illness? His illness was so bad that in his second letter to the church at Corinth, he tells them that he prayed for healing three times, but God told him, “No,” each time.
It was then that Paul, instead of wallowing in self-pity, made a decision to embrace his weakness. In fact, verse 10 of chapter twelve says,
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)
By that he meant that he’d reached a point where he couldn’t do anything (you know you’ve been there), that’s when he let God take over. And God always works in mighty ways. That’s the prize that Paul wanted – the life that God created just for him.
And that’s where we’ve got to find our joy when life gets to be too much. The prize that God planned for us is just over that hill of pain, discouragement, loneliness or grief. Isn’t that great? We’ve just got to keep climbing until we get to the top.
Questions for You:
- In the Shadow of Jezebel had several characters who pressed on in the midst of hardship. Was there ever a time in your own life when you leaned into either of these verses for comfort? You don’t have to go into specifics.
- What verses help you overcome?