Philippians 3:12-15 “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
Text Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
I think most people would readily admit that the Apostle Paul was a spiritual success; while at the same time desiring to attain Paul’s level of spirituality. Within the text, I find what I believe to be the principle of success. The principle is found within the first eight words of verse 14. It begins with a singular resolve, “I press.” The word “press” has the idea of pursuing to the point of persecution, to follow after or press forward. In verse 13, Paul said, “this one thing I do.” James said, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Try as we may, it is an impossibility to succeed spirituality when one’s focus is on the world; “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
Secondly, there is a specified realm, “toward the mark.” Paul has a specified goal that is his one and only concern. While he has chosen it as a goal, it is also the desire of the Father; “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (vs.10). Some might ask, what does the goal look like? Jesus! Paul is striving for Christ-likeness.
Lastly, there is a satisfying reward, “for the prize.” What was the prize that Paul passionately longed to attain; it was the upward invitation of God to takes one rest in Christ Jesus. Many fail to be successful in the Christian life because they aren’t satisfied with the simple reward of assuming a place of spiritual rest in Christ.
Later Paul would conclude his final letter with these words; “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (II Timothy 4:6-8). It was possible because he had been in possession of a singular resolve, a specified realm, and a satisfying reward.