Have you ever quit something? Why did you quit?
We tend to quit things when they get too hard don’t we? When I was a kid I took guitar lessons for a while, but then I quit because it got too hard and took up too much of my time (regrets).
Sometimes Christians quit too. Maybe they quit going to church or reading the Bible. But mostly they quit trusting Jesus. They stop wanting to be like him. Listen to how Paul describes his own Christian life here. Is he quitting?
Philippians 3:12-14. 12 Not that I … am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Have you ever run in a race? Paul describes life as a race. What happens when runners start to look behind them or even to the side? They slow down. Or have you ever seen a marathon race? These runners run for 26 miles. Sometimes they can barely make it across the finish line.
What do all runners have in common? They “strain forward to what lies ahead.” They run toward a finish line. A goal. Imagine a race without a finish line – how terrible would that be?
But in this life Jesus is our finish line. Paul says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” What is his prize? What is his goal? Being like Jesus!
As you grow up you might feel like giving up on Jesus at times. Often when kids become teenagers and then young adults they start to question things about God and the Bible and Jesus. Maybe they still believe in Jesus but they are more concerned with gaining other things instead of a deeper relationship with him. Jesus is no longer the prize they are “running” toward but getting into college is. Or making the team is. Or getting a boyfriend or girlfriend is. Or making money is.
But remember, all those things will only last for a little while. And all of those things will eventually let you down. Only Jesus lasts forever and will never, ever let you down. Only Jesus has given up everything for you. Only Jesus will love you completely and perfectly forever. And only Jesus has “made you his own” as Paul says.
So run toward Jesus because Jesus has already run toward you. Grab hold of Jesus because Jesus has already grabbed hold of you. Make Jesus your prize because he has made you his prize. Don’t give up on Jesus because he will never give up on you.
Because of Jesus we completely belong to God.
With Jesus we can keep “running” toward Jesus to become more like him.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Go for a walk or a jog together as a family. Set a goal or a finish line. Talk about how Jesus already won the race for us so now we can relax and just enjoy the race together – becoming like Jesus from grace.
You have made me your own. Help me to keep running toward you as the best prize in this world.
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