Success in the race or contest, about which I wrote a few times, earlier this week, literally means looking away. Yes, looking away from everything around you in order to focus on one goal. In Philippians 3, Paul describes numerous Jewish privileges concerning which, in the past, he had boasted (3:5,6). Now he considered them only as garbage (3:8). Why the switch? Because he realized that it only distracts from “the superiority of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” and that a man is righteous by faith alone (3:9). How evidently tempting it is, again and again, to expect something from one’s own efforts. Claims and teachings, in this vein, are the major hurdles in the contest of faith. From all sides, they try to convince you that there are “many things” in life that are important (see also Luke 10:42) and that faith alone is too simple. That is exactly what makes faith, in practice, a contest (2Tim. 4:7). Paul went for gold…
ONE THING [I do] — forgetting, indeed, those things which are behind (=all his Jewish pride), yet stretching out to those in front — toward the goal am I pursuing for the prize of God’s calling above in Christ Jesus.
Paul did not boast about his past and did not worry about the present. He did not try … no, he simply looked forward and upward!
Translation: Peter Feddema