Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
If you’ve prayed to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, Christ as claimed you as His own, and you’ve been declared righteous before God. To be declared in right standing before God is what the Bible means when it uses the word “justified” or “justification.” Once we’re called children of God, we then begin the process known as “sanctification,” which means to be made right with God. This process begins when someone accepts Christ, and it continues until we’re made perfect in heaven with Him.
Let’s face it: life is messy. The process of becoming like Christ is difficult. We still make mistakes regularly, and we seem to be in a constant battle to do what is right. Even Paul, seemingly one of the greatest Christians of all time, claims that he has not “made it” yet when he writes this letter. Despite the struggle we have, there is encouragement in this passage. We don’t focus on our past, but rather we focus on our future, as God has called us to do. In a sermon I heard once, I remember the pastor refer to Christian living as one would teaching somebody to drive. Consider the following conversation one might have during Driver’s Ed.
Teacher: What is the purpose of the rearview mirror?
Student: To look and see what’s behind you.
Teacher: Which is bigger, the windshield or the rearview mirror?
Student: The windshield.
Teacher: Why do you think that is?
Student: Because while it’s important to be able to look back and see where you’ve been, it’s more important to look ahead and see where you’re going.
Be encouraged, look through your windshield, and remember to choose today to follow Christ!