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 for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:13, 14 KJV
I believe God is calling us to press towards the high calling this year.
What have you been called to do? Some people believe that other have a higher calling than others. That is far from the truth. Although we perform different roles through the gifts that God has given to us, there is only one calling!
No one calling is more important or higher than others. Your calling is as important as the Pastor’s calling. God knows you have what it takes to walk in that calling, that is why He called you!
Why do we press forward towards the mark? We press forward because there are a lot of things contending for our attention. Things that have been planted by the enemy to distract us from the goal God has set for us. In Luke 9:51, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem.
What strikes me is how the Bible describes his demeanor and the reaction of the Samaritans. “And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem”. The hostility of the Samaritans was such that James and John were enraged and asked Jesus if they could call down fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans. They obviously had knowledge of how Elijah did same in the old testament and looked up to Jesus for a re-enactment. He however educated about what the power of the Spirit is meant for – not to destroy but to save.
Jesus was pressing on towards the purpose of His coming into the world and He knew that once He went through with it, the reward would be reconciling the ones He loved unto the Father. This passage was in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed”
To press forward, denotes that there are things that are in the way, things that will threaten to stop us from achieving our God-given vision. The good news is that as we press forward with purpose, determination and the power of the Spirit, these forces have no choice but to give way.
There are some factors that we need to push against, things that if we do not deal with, can prevent us from pressing into God’s High calling.
Our failures – No doubt we made promises at the beginning of the last year and failed woefully. It is time to put those failures behind us and press on! Do not let your failures hold you back!
In the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, one of the greatest candidates for the gold medal in the 400-meter run was Derek Redmond of Britain. Just 150 meters out, his Achilles tendon snapped.
A startled gasp erupted out of the crowd as they watched him stumble, then catch himself and continue. Limping painfully down the course, he remained intent on finishing the race, no matter how long it took.
As the other runners sped by, a figure pushed his way out of the stands and onto the track. Redmond’s father put his arm around him, lifted his son’s arm over his shoulder, and helped him to finish the race.
It is a marvelous illustration of God’s enormous mercy and grace when failure or brokenness besets us on the path toward our goals. If we will just stay on track, we can go the distance, because we have a heavenly Father who will come, put His arms around us, undergird us, and see us through to the end.
Past Successes – If we rely on the successes of the past, we will never be able to conquer the challenges ahead of us. The conditions that aided our successes in the past year may change this year – and if we rely on last year’s strategies, we will fail.
David was a warrior whose town had just been raided by the Amalekites, who went away with their properties, wives and children. Although David suffered the loss of his wives, the other men in their grief blamed him for what happened and were planning to stone him.
We read that David was disturbed by this but he found strength in God. What did he do next? He inquired of God, “Should I pursue this raiding party? will I overtake them?”
The response from God was, “Pursue them, you will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue”. David and his men pursued and indeed recovered all. David could have relied on his past glories after all, it was not too long that he killed the giant Goliath but he chose to press into God’s purpose rather than rely on his own strength.
Self – One of the greatest obstacles to pressing on towards the mark of God’s high calling is self. Man is inherently selfish. Unless we walk in the Spirit, even our service for God will be motivated by self.
When we focus on self, there is no way we will be able to press on towards God’s calling for our lives. God is calling us to serve and in doing that, we are called to shift focus from our needs to the needs of others. If everyone focused on the needs of others, everyone’s needs will invariably be met!
This was why Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to follow me must put aside his own desires and conveniences and carry his cross with him everyday and keep close to me!” Luke 9:23
God is not static, He is always moving, healing, delivering, rescuing people from destruction. He needs people who will stay close to Him and be His hands and feet here on earth? Are you ready to be the ones?
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org