Every couple years, I find it incredibly difficult to pull myself away from the television (and internet) for about two and half weeks. While I enjoy watching sports on TV in general, the Olympics are an irresistible draw for me. I love watching athletes compete at the highest level. They train for years, focused on the prize of a gold medal. These are the best of the best.

The apostle Paul was considered one of the “best of the best.” He was a “Hebrew of Hebrews” (v. 5), as well as a Pharisee filled with zeal and passion (v. 6). And yet he considered all that rubbish.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

Paul was willing to give up everything he had in order to gain Jesus. You’d think that would be the end, but like those Olympians, Paul was chasing a prize.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14

With single-minded determination, Paul throws off the chains that would bind and keep him from Jesus. He looks not to his past triumphs, but to a secure future with Jesus. With his eyes on the prize, Paul strains forward.

What about you? Are you forgetting the past and straining toward that prize? Are your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, or your own greatness? With the Spirit’s help, let’s clear away the rubbish and strain forward!