One verse that I said hundreds of times as a child was Philippians 3:14. It was the motto for the kids program I attended at church, and we would say it every Wednesday from my third grade year through my sixth grade year.
“I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
I know the verse well. I can say it without looking it up. It’s in my head. But I don’t often think about what it means. I think we tend to do that as Christians. “Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve heard this before,” is a common attitude. Since we have heard things before, we tune out when they come up again without even considering whether or not we have accomplished anything. It’s funny that I would do that to this verse, though, because the point of this verse is the opposite of that attitude.
This verse is about constant pursuit of the prize. We are trying to win something here. We are to be like athletes in that we repetitiously go through the same exercises in order to perfect our techniques. Just Ray Allen has taken thousands upon thousands of 3-point shots and can make one with higher probability than any other basketball player (and by the way, he still takes thousands and thousands of shots, despite his already being great), we are to do the same spiritual practices over and over and over again, seeking to get better and better at our calling to be Christ like. So what if you’ve read the Bible through 20 times? You keep reading your Bible. So you’ve prayed? You keep praying. You’ve led several friends to the Lord? That’s great! Keep studying and learning and getting better at doing it, so you can do it more and more.
This is how we win the prize. What prize? Standing before Christ and hearing Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” What will He say to you? Press on. Press towards that calling. Practice your faith with tenacity.