What Does Philippians 3:13 Mean?

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

Philippians 3:13(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

As Christians, it should be our desire and single intent to love the Lord with all our being and seek, with our whole heart, to be in His perfect will. Sometimes the urgent things of life have to give way to the thing that is really important, and sometimes the good has to be set aside or renounced for the best.

It is futile to try to follow Christ based on our own merit, abilities, or achievements. It is foolish to think we are able to please Him through religious observances or by following some man-made principles of legalism. Our confidence must never rest in ourselves or our abilities. We are to place our confidence in a true and living relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and all that He achieved on the Cross on our behalf. We must never place our trust in the flesh, but in Him.

We do not have a righteousness of our own. Our spiritual nakedness is covered by Christ's righteousness which comes to us through faith in Him. But being saved by grace through faith and clothed in Christ is not the end goal but the beginning of our new life in Him, and every day we should strive to know Him more, to love Him better, to listen to His voice, to obey His Word, and to develop an ever-closer relationship with Him. 

This demands a singleness of purpose, a sole objective – one determined aim. Paul was a man that, having met the Lord Jesus on his Damascus Road, set his face as a flint to press on for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. "That I may know Him," was Paul's personal longing: "That I may know Jesus and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Paul knew that knowing Christ was an ongoing process through this life and into the eternal ages to come. Growing in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus requires single-minded dedication. James reminds us that a double-minded man is unstable in all things and David gives us a beautiful picture of a man after God’s own heart.

Just as Christ's food and drink was to do the will of His Father, so we should have the same passion to know Christ, and Paul expressed the same, single-minded fervency in this verse: "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead..."

Paul was used greatly by the Lord to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, and each one of us should seek to develop the same fervent longing to press on to know Him more and to strive with our whole being to press on to what lies ahead of us. The single-minded fervour we see in the lives of Paul, James, David, and even the Lord Jesus points to the fact that a man with a single aim is a man God can use and that single aim is to carry out the will of the Father, in all His ways.

The complacent Christian does not have an urgency to be about his Father’s business and the proud believer has an alternative agenda, while those that are lukewarm in their faith seem indifferent to their spiritual growth. But the child of God who seeks to lift up the Lord Jesus and to glorify His name, is jealous of the task ahead and resolutely sets his eye on the finishing line on this earthly race.

Such a one does not rest on his laurels but strains his spiritual muscle. He puts his body under subjection, harnesses his time, employs his talents, and fine-tunes his actions and attitude for the glory of God.

Such a man keeps his eye on the goal of his calling as he runs the race of life through its many pitfalls and problems. Such a man trusts his Lord with all his heart and understands that God’s grace is sufficient for all his needs. He will lay aside all other considerations and press on to finish the task the Lord has given him to do – knowing that Christ is his sufficiency and Christ is his strength.

If you have met the Lord on your Damascus Road, why not resolutely set your eyes on the final goal and make it your single intent to love the Lord with all your being and seek with all your heart to be in His perfect will – in Christ.

My Prayer

Loving Father, I confess that sometimes I look backwards, rather than single-mindedly looking forward to the goal of my calling. May I set my heart as a flint to do Your will, in the power of the Spirit, to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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