Eyes on the Heavenly Prize

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 3:13-16

I remember an old farmer deftly illustrating the Christian walk by describing the proper way to hand plow a field. The only way to produce long, straight furrows is to keep your eyes fixed on a point at the end of the row. Looking behind you, for whatever reason, will never produce straight rows. If you admire what you’ve accomplished by looking back you will cause the plow to drift off
course. Focusing on the plow doesn’t work either. If you fix your gaze on things directly in front of you, you will not plow a straight furrow.

Similarly Paul identifies two spiritual pitfalls:

  1. inability or unwillingness to forget the past, and

  2. lack of intense commitment to what lies ahead.

Focusing on past spiritual achievements or personal failures provides insufficient motivation to move straight forward. And allowing religious obligations or worldly commitments to consume our attention can steer us away from eternal goals. Instead, Paul says, fix your gaze on heaven. Does that seem too religious and other- worldly for you? Eternity is the direction in which we are all headed, like it or not. Beware of the temptation to strive for prizes you’ll leave behind, or be ashamed to offer to Jesus.

written by Philip Rose


Lord Jesus, no matter what I’ve done in the past, help me focus my energy and effort on you alone. Amen.