As Christians, we have a dangerous tendency to stop moving forward once we’ve been dunked. We accept Christ, we show our church family and the world through our baptism, and then we stop trying to be perfect. This isn’t all bad – we shouldn’t try to make ourselves perfect, especially not in the ways we thought perfection was possible prior to our salvation through Christ. However, we can’t just accept Jesus and then hang out waiting to cash in on that undeserved prize of eternal life. We need to keep pushing forward.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:12-14, ESV
Paul gives us a pretty great example of how and why to “strain forward to what lies ahead” in Philippians 3. We should continue to try to be more and more like Jesus because we are called to do so. In verse 14, Paul writes about the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” I saw it noted (by a brain greater than my own) while studying this chapter that the prize is the call, not the reward of answering that call. It is our prize to know God and to work toward His plans. We may never be perfect, but we can always press on in the direction that God is calling.