“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark (goal) for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
The mark is the development of Christian character. Without this character, we cannot hope to receive the prize in heaven. Romans 6:22, “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness (character), and the end, everlasting life.”
First, the milk of the Word should be received; its strength should be appropriated; spiritual sight and spiritual energy should quickly follow. The strong meat of divine truth should speedily bring to full maturity the Christian character.
Our Christ-like character should be held at any cost through all the trials from the Adversary, the world, and the flesh. The severest temptations come after we have reached the mark. We may be tempted to be slack in God’s service, or to not sacrifice our wills to obey God’s will. In our relationships, we could be tempted to be unkind, unloving with our brethren, or unjust with our neighbor, or ungenerous with our enemies. (See John 15:10.)
All of these must be resisted as we prize our eternal life. We prize the promise of joint-heirship and fellowship with our Redeemer in his kingdom. Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Every Christian character will thoroughly tested along lines of loyalty, courage, zeal, and love. We need to remember the Lord’s comforting assurances of grace, if we would come off a victor and not be discouraged, nor have our courage beaten down by the Adversary’s attacks. Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”