“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.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Paul likens the Christian life to running a long distance race. He wanted to model a spiritual inventory for his audience and such an example is familiar and edifying. This is because at the start of the race, and at various places on the course, runners need to take an inventory, assess their current position,where they are in relation to the goal. They must then evaluate their own physical capabilities, health, and training to calculate the pace they need to run so that each will be able to go the distance. The good runners keep their faces focused toward the finish line and don’t stop until they reach it. It is quite common to see many, however, drop out at various points because they lose heart. It is quite a tragic thing to see someone who trained so hard and sacrificed so much to just give up but it is even more tragic if a runner stopped short of the goal because he thought he had already reached it.
Both tragedies are common in the Christian life, The race track of the Christian life is littered with the fallen bodies of those who fell because they lacked endurance or thought they have already reached the finish. These have taken their eyes off the goal and prize of perfection in Christ Jesus. Christians can be more effective in living the Christian life if they are focused on what they are called to be in Christ Jesus rather than dwelling upon their own abilities and achievements or fears and shortcomings or on those of others. All need to press on no matter what knowing that their strength to endure comes from the Lord.