Pressing on, pt. 3

As it turns out, all the June posts have been about Philippians 3:12-14. First, here are these verses. 

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Last week I wrote about God not letting go of us.

The week before was about going all out for God.

The first week encouraged us not to quit.

Today, let’s look at the goal. The word goal is used twice in the NIV.

What does it mean?

Although the word goal is used twice, there are two very seperate meanings. 

Verse 12 says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have arrived at my goal…”.

Again, this is the New International Version. Here is that same phrase in a literal sense.

“Not that I already have obtained it or already have been perfected…”

Paul is telling the readers that he is not complete, not yet perfect. God still has to add to Paul’s life what is lacking in order to bring his character to perfection.

The consumation of life has not yet happened. The process is not finished. There are more stages in which Paul (and you and me) must still go through.

Remember those old telescope that pirates would use? They would have to pull out each section until the telescope was fully extended. Only then was it fully functional.


The second time the word goal is used is verse 14.

This one is more concrete. Think of the tape at the end of a race. That is the goal. You can see it so you can run to it.


So we have one English word and two different Greek meanings.

One marks a point, the other a process.

In our lives, we must have both the point and the process. 

The Point – Jesus is the goal. We need to keep our eyes on him.

The Process –  Jesus is the goal. He will help make us what he wants us to be.

I conclude with Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Be encouraged! God bless you!


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