Philippians 3:14

Read Introduction to Philippians


"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."


Now at last we discover Paul's goal. What is the goal of his life? His life-long aspiration is the smile of Jesus Christ at their meeting in heaven.

I press toward the goal.

"Press toward" expresses the idea of pursuit after or follow earnestly. Paul keeps his eye on the goal. He does not allow anything to deter him from his goal. Like a marathon runner he keeps his eye on the finish. He follows earnestly after the wreath. He was not going through the paces. He would not stop to talk to the fans in the stands even though the race is over twenty miles. Time is too precious for that. 

It is the devil's business to distract us from the goal. If we take time to answer the bystanders, the critics, we lose precious time and focus. If we indulge ourselves with anger, we will not finish well. "But the media told lies about me. Some of the fans made unfair remarks about my running." That thinking will deflect us from our ultimate goal.

We will get the prize when we reach the goal. The goal has not arrived yet. We look for our Savior's words,

"Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things" (Matt. 25:21).

PRINCIPLE: We need to "press" toward the goal. 

APPLICATION: Anything less than pressing toward God's goal for our lives will deflect us from finishing well. Have you started the race, have you received a spiritual birth from God? If so, have you left the starting blocks? Have you begun to run the Christian life? Have you ever heard the starter's pistol? Have you responded to our Lord's challenge to live a focused life for his glory? Did you leap off the starting blocks and then slow down? Is your Christian life less robust now than at the beginning? Have you slowed down to a jog? Are you loping along through your Christian life? Some of us may have slowed to a walk. Others may be standing still. Yet others have sat down. Some have even laid down their spiritual life and that is why they are called a "laymen!!"


15 Responses to “Philippians 3:14”

  • I have read this verse with so much interest and it has really challenged me, to the extend that, I am going to share it with the other servants on Sunday, during church service.

  • This verse is significant to me as my family and I have been put through so much. So much so, that if I had to tell others, it
    would not seem possible. I received this verse from a friend
    yesterday and it touched me deeply, as I felt God saying to me
    “Don’t give up, you are nearly there my child”.

  • A Lions rugby player had this verse written on white elastic around both his arms, while playing against the Bulls on Saturday 29 August 2009. Good for you!!!! This grabbed my attention and i looked it up. It make such an impression on me, as this is quite a trying time for me. Thank you so much! May God bless you and your family.

  • After seeing this verse written on a friends myspace page.. I looked it up curiously. It touched me so deeply that it is now on my myspace page. I also did background information on this verse, for these are trying times for me and my family.

  • Ashley, You may want to study First Peter if your family is going through difficulity.

  • for me this verse says god is calling up on me 2 reach 4 da price, and it is price of righteousness. He encourages me 2 run, push 4 da price
    Fada i receive dis verse, i thank 4 making me win da price.

  • Bless you Nomkhosi.

  • Good commentary. I’m going to draw from this for a brief lesson I’m doing for the junior bible quizzers at our church. They want to go to nationals, but they’re not studying. :)

  • i am honestly confused by this whole section and peoples response to it.

    either righteousness is a FREE GIFT received through faith or it is of WORKS by running and winning a race. It is either of him who wills and him who runs or it is of God who shows mercy.

    honestly, if Christianity is nothing more than a treadmill towards a prize earned though racing well then why do we even need a new covenant in the first place? the Law did that just fine.

    this section of verses basically puts the “prize” in the hands of those type A personality folks who through BIOLOGY are going to be good at anything they put their hand to and the rest of us are standing out in the cold in last place.

    It is almost like Paul does away with the entire body of his teaching on Salvation by grace through faith and re institutes salvation by a more extreme version of works than any other religion on earth… all in the “hope” that “maybe” you can obtain the prize of the resurrection of life if you win..

    This is nothing but depressing and disheartening of you really think about it.

  • Confused, this passage does not seek to gain God’s approbation but we please Him because we HAVE God’s approbation. We live our lives to please the Lord, not to earn favor with Him. The entire Christian life is based on grace (God’s provisions).

  • Grant, the problem is paul says that he is “running” that by “any means” he might “obtain the resurrection of the dead”. Or the first resurrection.

    he is not saying anything about pleasing God. the implication here is that God put you on the track.. (you were apprehended) but you YOURSELF through ANY MEANS need to “win the race” in order to “be part of the first resurrection”.

    Which completely throws salvation by grace right out the window and makes it a bloody track meat that you can only hope to win if you are fanatical enough. i can think of 100 better ways to say what you are claiming is being said here.

    you might as well be a Muslim. Why even care about circumcision? why even replace the law? this whole passage is insane.

  • Confused, this passage is not arguing for salvation but for maturity in the Christian life. The word “attain,” not “obtain,” means to arrive at a goal. The goal in context is maturity. By the time the out resurrection occurs (probably the rapture), Paul’s goal was to reach a point of maturity in his life. Maturity is a maximum application of truth to experience in the Christian life. The argument is not “to be a part of the first resurrection” but to reach that point in a state of maturity. Salvation is indeed by grace and so is the Christian life and maturity by grace (God’s provision). We do not have the power to live the Chritian life in ourselves.

  • Thank you so kindly for sharing this commentary.  I am seeking perspectives on this verse for a message of "Why is it important to press towards our goals"  This is close to where I am coming from in my view.  Again thank you for this.  

  • Theresa, the next study (3:14b) indicates that our goal is the smile of our Lord when we meet Him in our entrance into heaven. 

  • This was the verse i dreamed of  when i was still in college. I was seeking for any further explanation about it but thanks to HIM i found it here! 

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