by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal (Phil. 3:13–14).
Just as every town in the USA has a baseball diamond and every town in Canada a hockey rink, so every city in Paul's world had an amphitheater. The sports events in the stadium supplied Paul with many metaphors for his letters.
Here he tells us that he is not a perfect Christian, but he is working hard on becoming better. Taking his clue from an athlete in a footrace, he says that he forgets what lies behind and strains toward the goal.
Christians must always go forward and upward. We must be goal-oriented. "Press on toward the goal." When we get too distracted, we lose our sense of direction. We must grasp that for which we have been grasped. And live lives worthy of the calling.
Moreover, just as an athlete has to be in shape to run and win, so Christians must live disciplined lives. We need an overall program of Christian exercise that keeps our faith healthy and our sense of mission strong.
And just as the runner does not look back, so we are allowed the right kind of Christian forgetfulness. God allows us to forget—not only our sins but also our triumphs and spiritual attainments and mystical experiences. Of course, there are "unforgettable things." But we cannot live as prisoners of the past.
Forward! The best is yet to come. He who called us is faithful. We'll meet him at the finish line.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version