I Press On

As we enter 2019, Paul’s teaching in Philippians 3 can help us re-set our thinking for the new year. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phi 3:13b-14, ESV). Paul was fond of using word-pictures from athletics to illustrate various aspects of the Christian life, and that seems to be what he is doing here. Like a well-trained athlete, Paul urges us to forget what is behind, which cannot be changed, and focus instead on the present, the work of God that leads to the prize of resurrection from the dead (Phil 3:11). This is “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The bronze runners in this photo are from the square peristyle garden of the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, one of the cities buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Their expressions and stance indicate a focus on the present. The ancient sculptor has captured a sense of strong determination as they concentrate solely on the race at hand. May God grant us strength to forget what is behind and instead focus in the new year on his kingdom and his righteousness.

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