“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14)
One of the most basic rules of aviation is trust your instruments. A variety of circumstances and situations can disorient even the most seasoned pilot, but a properly maintained cockpit instrument is consistent. It is not affected by lack of oxygen or too little sleep. It looks the same in foggy weather as it does in clear. Bad days do not affect its judgment. These instruments provide a critical reference for achieving the goal of a safe landing at the desired destination.
Over a decade ago, Danny Chambers released a song that still resonates in my spirit. It begins, “So many distractions that pull me away. Too many attractions that lead me astray.” It is far too easy to drift off course by looking at things around us. Cares of life such as career, finances and health capture so much of our attention that we often forget that this life is actually the short-side of eternity. If we are not careful, we can easily sacrifice eternal things in the name of temporary “emergencies.”
The Apostle Paul modeled the better way. He let go of things in the past that he couldn’t change, ignored the things to the right and left and focused on what God had placed in front of him. Indeed, he “strained” toward the goal. He knew that whatever life or his enemy brought to distract him, his job was to focus on the most important goal – living a life pleasing to God.
The Bible is our most important instrument. It is often called the Cannon of Scripture. The word Cannon in the Greek language can be translated, “measuring rod.” In other words, the Bible is a standard that doesn’t change regardless of conditions around us. We can measure our current living by its gauge to see if we are on track for our destiny. As we focus on the goal to win the prize, we can sing the second verse of Danny Chamber’s song, “I’ve set my affections completely on You.”
Father, thank You for giving us a clear standard in Your Word. Help us to not get distracted by the things of life and the enemy. Help us instead to focus on conducting our lives according to Your perfect plan. Increase our faith so that we trust Your Word even when all our senses are screaming something different. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer, in Jesus Name. Amen.