THE UPWARD CALL

Philippians 3:12-21

Saturday, 17 September 2022




“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:14


We are constantly responding to the call of either a spouse or our children or an employer and often, meeting their expectations becomes the focal point of our lives. Our reading today appeals to us not to forget a much higher calling for us born of Christ, along with all the earthly calling. This call is from God! He wants us to withstand all the pressures and difficulties in this earthly life so that we could one day be with Him in eternity.


Being an UPWARD Call, it is sure going to take a lot of effort to keep “climbing up” in this call. The standards are higher—the call being from God. Paul knew well it wasn’t going to be easy for the believer to keep moving at a steady pace. So he encourages us to PRESS ON- to persevere! This is the only way a believer can finish his earthly race and reach heaven’s shores.


Paul highlights two areas we need to press on in this upward call, so that we would be like Christ when we see Him face to face:


1. Press on to perfection [V.12] We are often confronted with dissatisfied people who are reconstructing themselves through painful surgeries just to have a perfect face and a body, spending so much of time, effort and money. How much more should we work on our character by daily crucifying our selfish desires to reflect our perfect Father in heaven! (Matt.5:48). Paul knew this truth. So he instructs us not to give up striving to perfection just as he was working toward it.

Three areas that would hinder us from reaching the perfection that Christ desires (V.19):

  • We lose our perfection when we begin to serve God for our personal gain - 1 Tim 6:5; Rom 16:18

  • We lose our perfection when we glory in hidden sin but publically portray we are doing the right thing. We replace the fountain of life for broken cisterns that cannot hold water – Jer. 2:13

  • We lose our perfection when our attention and affections are on this earthy life and not on Jesus. Col. 3:1 &2

Let us be alert by following the pattern set before us by godly men and women (V.17) lest we tarnish the image of God in and through our lives.


2. Press on for the heavenly prize [V.14]: Our perfection is not only for the earthly race, but there is a reward for everyone who perseveres towards the goal. Paul in 1Cor 9:24 exhorts us to run to receive the prize. The race is tough but we are called to run with endurance by looking at Jesus (Heb. 12: 3)

Paul tells us to do two mind actions to press toward the goal:

  • Forget the past [V.13]- When the Israelites left Egypt for the promised land, they still craved for the delicacies they left behind. Instead of looking with hope to the land that God was taking them to, their past was holding them captive. For us who are on a journey with God, He calls us to put off our old selves and put on the new identity in Christ so that nothing of the past would hinder our eternal destiny.

  • Remember the prize: The only reason that we have seen men and women lay down their lives for God is because of the hope of being forever with the Lord, conformed to His glorious image (V.21). 1 Cor.15: 43-53 talks about the glorious reward for all who endure till the end. May this reward be always etched in our minds that we would never exchange this for any earthly reward.


Quote for the day: “There is no higher calling, no loftier dream and no greater goal than to live, breathe, and be poured out for Jesus Christ.” ~Brother Andrew

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