This verse is smack full of intentionality! The great apostle has just finished talking about his desire to know Christ better and to be like Him. He recognizes, though, that he falls far short of this goal (v. 12). But this does not keep him from taking intentional steps to get there.
He intentionally forgets – Paul could easily have beat himself up over his past.After all he was a blasphemer and a persecutor and a hater of all things Christian. He did a lot of things that could easily haunt his memories. But he chooses not to remember these things. He does not dwell on things that are in his past because he does not want to be weighed down by anything that he can’t do something about. The past is behind him. Paul chooses to look ahead.
He intentionally strains forward – Like a sprinter who is giving every ounce of his energy to reach the finish line, Paul strains toward his goal. He is not content to cross the finish line nonchalantly. He is not content to finish his race with ease. He is giving it his all. this verse begs the question, “What am I doing to know Christ better? Am I putting forth any kind of effort at all to become more Christlike?”
He intentionally keeps his eyes on the prize – Is is very very easy to get distracted in today’s world from the goal of knowing Christ. It was not any easier in Paul’s world 2000 years ago. I’m not exactly sure what Paul did to keep his focus the way that he did but here are a few things that have helped me over the years:
- Stay in the Word regularly and ponder what Scripture is saying
- Have intentional conversations with people about God and the gospel
- Journal as a way to make me think intentionally
- Hang around with people who are passionate about knowing Christ better
- Ask God to fuel me with a desire to know Him and to fill me with a Spirit induced hunger for His Word
May the Lord create in us hearts that are not content until we find our satisfaction fully in Him.