Pray First 2024 – Reach Devotional

January 10, 2024
Pray First 2024 – Reach Devotional

“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:12-14

In the book of Philippians, Paul’s words resonate as a guiding light in the journey of our faith. He urges the Philippians and us by extension to embrace a forward-focused perspective.

These two verses, penned by Paul, echo across time, encapsulating a profound truth about the Christian journey: That forward progress is a faith-filled intentional act. 

When Paul speaks of forgetting what is behind, he isn’t advocating amnesia but rather a release from the shackles of past failures, regrets, or even successes that might hinder our progress. It’s an invitation to unburden ourselves from the weight of the past and to cease dwelling on it in a way that obstructs our spiritual advancement.

As a former track runner, I personally understand Paul’s words. Just as it was for me on the track, so it is in my spiritual development and personal relationship with God. That reaching forward is a posture that demands perseverance and determination. Just as a track runner strains forward to cross the finish line, we, too, strain forward in our spiritual journey. 

Reaching forward is more than a passive yearning; it’s an active engagement with God’s plans. It involves daily decisions aligning with His will and a persistent hunger for deeper intimacy with Him.

Maybe today as you read this you are facing some challenges, distractions, or maybe even setbacks. I want to encourage you that you aren’t reading this by chance. No matter what comes your way, let today serve as assurance that God is with you. Don’t stop reaching forward! Keep your focus fixed on Christ—the ultimate destination and the source of our strength. It’s in Him that we find the motivation to continue pressing forward despite the odds.

Each step taken in reaching forward is a testament to our commitment to grow spiritually, to live a life aligned with God’s purposes, and to experience the richness of His love and grace.

So, let us heed Paul’s exhortation and reach forward with hope and anticipation of the promises yet to be fulfilled. May our hearts be attuned to God’s leading, our spirits resilient in the face of challenges, and our eyes fixed on the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

"For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. so we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eterna." -2 Corinthians 4:17-18

By Charles Simmons