“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” (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV).
In the book of Philippians the Apostle Paul highlighted the need for advancement or progress in one’s Christian life by inciting the Philippians to “work out their own salvation” (vs. 2:12) and then by rallying them to follow his example and “press on toward the goal” (vs 3:14).
It’s as if living their Christian lives was like participating in a footrace. And, the finish line for this race was not ahead but up!
God is calling us up to Him and we heed that upward call by straining forward–racing as hard as we can–toward a heavenly finish line.
So, Paul’s description of the challenge we face in our lives on Earth is more like a space race than a foot race. Because we’re going up! And, there’s a heavenly prize at the finish line of this race of life–eternal life!
The direction of the goal Paul speaks of is not forward but upward–vertical, not horizontal. It’s not an earthly calling we pursue in our lives but a heavenly calling.
What we are striving for is not down here but up there–an upward call because “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21, ESV).
You are a citizen of heaven! You are meant to be with God. You are made to live eternally in the presence of and in fellowship with God.
That’s your upward call!
And, the life you live on this earth should be a matter of working your way up–upward toward your heavenly home with God in Christ Jesus.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20, ESV)
(This meditation was originally posted September 19, 2010 and has been updated to represent my current understanding of the Bible verses–S.)