Read Philippians 3:14 (ESV)
...I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What is the prize that Paul is striving for?
A few years back my family and I set out to hike at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We had been told it was well worth our time and effort to make the hike upward. But along the way, I started to question whether or not we were going to make it. I even considered giving up and turning around. The terrain was rough in some spots, there were steep hills to climb, and I had to carry one of my kids most of the way! It was grueling. But we wanted the prize. We wanted to see the spectacular views that we had been promised from the top. So we kept climbing. We pressed on toward our goal and we eventually made it. It was worth it!
In today’s verse, Paul wrote that he was also pressing on in order to receive a prize that came with a spectacular view but so much more! Paul kept on climbing because he had been promised the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” What does he mean by this?
Previously in Philippians 3, Paul said that he considers everything else rubbish except for one thing—knowing Christ (v.8). He already had a relationship with Jesus but the amazing thing about relationships is that there is always more to know about someone, especially with the God of the universe! We can spend our whole lives getting to know Jesus, but we still will not know Him perfectly or completely.
But some day, we will see His face when God calls us upward to our heavenly home. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 Paul said, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” We will see His face! Isn’t that a view worth climbing for? A goal worth pressing on toward?
Friends, on earth the terrain can be rough. We have to climb up some pretty steep hills. Sometimes, we have to carry others along the way and sometimes others help carry us. But the prize is worth it. God will call us upward to eternity. And there, we will see the most spectacular view we have ever seen. We will see Jesus face to face and we will finally know Him as we were always meant to—completely.
Jesus, I want to know You completely. Help me to keep pressing on here on earth because I know that someday, when my race is over and my climb is done, I will see You face to face. It is a prize worth pursuing. Amen.