One essential requirement for running a successful race is having a right mental attitude. This truth was exemplified by the words of Paul as he spoke about his relationship to Jesus Christ: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10–11 nasb).
Paul had a specific objective. He did not run aimlessly. (See 1 Corinthians 9:26.) He had an aim before him. He knew what the goal was, which determined his mental attitude. He continued, “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect [complete], but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (verse 12 nasb). Paul’s vision was that Christ had laid hold of him for a purpose; fulfilling that purpose meant that he would have to relate to this purpose. He had to be determined that the purpose of Christ would become his purpose.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (verses 13–14 nasb)
The phrase “I press on” occurs twice, once in verse 12 and once in verse 14. That is the mental attitude we need to share with Paul: “I press on. I have a goal. I have not yet arrived, but I know where I’m headed.” The last time Paul used that phrase, he said, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” There is a reward for those who successfully complete the race. Always keep the goal in mind, for we do not want to lose our God-appointed reward.