Thomas Edison discovered thousands of ways that a light bulb would not work. But he didn’t quit, and we know the rest of the story.
In Philippians 3, Paul challenges us to pursue the ultimate prize – the high calling of God. It is a lofty goal and requires dissatisfaction with our current level of spirituality and an ongoing commitment of time, resources, and effort. But first, we must forget the past.
Forget the past
When we look back, we can see accomplishments and failures, but both must be forgotten. When we dwell on past failures, we live a defeated, discouraged life. Bitterness is given room to fester, which can quickly handicap us and those around us. When we dwell on past accomplishments, we can rest on our past achievements instead of continuing to serve our God and the needy all around us.
We were not made to float along with the current. If we would pursue the ultimate prize, we must swim upstream! Sacrifices will need to be made in order to continue “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” (Philippians 3:13) What is it that God has called you to do? Are you still doing it? Reaching forth takes effort, but by faith in our God and reliance on His strength, we can accomplish His will.
Press toward the mark
This is the final push. The last endeavor to break the tape of the finish line, to accomplish the task, to reach the goal. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul calls it striving “for the mastery.” He says that a runner does it “to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” What a prize! This doesn’t mean that we will never falter, but that we must keep getting up and pressing on. The writer of Proverbs says that “A just man falleth seven times, and risen up again.” (Proverbs 24:16)
So forget the past – we can’t change it anyway. Reach forth – there is much to do. And press toward the mark – get up and get going! We are in a lifelong pursuit and we must not quit. Like Edison we must continue because our story is still being told.