Winning the Prize

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,

The Apostle Paul wrote in Phil. 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

When I was in seminary, I audited a couple courses.  That means I did not have to pay for them, nor did I have to do any work or assignments.  Of course, I didn’t receive any credit for them either.  But the classes were taught by outstanding professors and the subject matter, though not in the area of my concentration, was interesting so I audited them.  That meant I could attend the classes to pick up whatever insights I could from the professors.  But if I was busy that day or just didn’t feel like attending, I didn’t have to.

Who do you think got more out of those classes – me, or the students who took them for credit and did all the reading and completed all the assignments?  Obviously, the students who took the classes for credit got far more out of them than I did.  They got more out of those classes because they put more into those classes.

That made me think of our walk with Christ, and what Paul wrote in Phil. 3:14.  The truth is, we cannot audit the Christian life.  Following Jesus is not about attending church when it’s convenient, simply hoping to pick up a few interesting insights about the meaning of life.

No, the Christian life is an adventure that demands first place in our lives.  We have to put everything into it.  If we do, we can be sure that what we get out of it will far surpass anything we could hope for.  As Paul said in this verse, we will win the prize – not salvation, for that is a free gift, but the prize of knowing Christ more fully, of experiencing His grace and power at work in our lives transforming our character and equipping us to fulfill the wonderful purpose He has for us.  Then we can live in the hope, joy, freedom, and reality of the Gospel.

So let us press on, with gratitude and joy, toward the goal.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bob

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