Phillippians 3:13-14, “Brothers 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Are you pressing? Though the road has been challenging, are you pressing forward? Though all may have forsaken you, are you pressing? Even though you have a past, are you pressing? Even though you’ve had some successes, are you pressing?

Paul had experienced it all. He began with a past that left him feeling he was the least. A worm at best. He had been blind, beaten, shipwrecked, bitten by a snake, and abandoned, to name just a few. He knew failure in ministry and relationships. He wrestled with his flesh, saying he didn’t do the things he wanted to, and he did the things he didn’t want to do.

On the other hand, he was rocking the world by bringing the gospel to the gentiles. He had brought the baptism of the Holy Spirit to those who hadn’t so much as heard that there was a Holy Spirit. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He mentored and fathered new Christians to lead, and he mended and reunited relationships with those once torn. He authored thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament and finished his race well.

With a new year upon us, let us remember what Paul taught. Forget what is behind. There is a prize to win that God has called us to win. The enemy would love to keep us locked up in the things we can’t relive. It isn’t an easy thing, of course. Paul said he strained forward. The original Greek for that word means to exert oneself to the uttermost. It’s hard work. It’s a stretching, and stretching is painful. But like a rubber band, once it has been stretched, it will never be a small as it once was. It has grown.

We, like Paul, must press on. That word press means to move rapidly and decisively toward. To hasten and to run. Before we know it, 2023 will be at the door, and what will we have done? Let’s press on. Let’s leave the past in the past and stretch toward the prize. To look back is not to press but to regress. It’s time to advance with precision. We’ve got a race to win, and 2022 is just the year to do it. Press on saints. Let’s win the prize!

Jaime Luce

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