Phil 3:13-14 – Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. 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. ESV
Paul, called Saul in his pre-Christ following days, was raised to be a Pharisee of Pharisees. He was trained by the very best that Israel had to offer and most likely would end up one day as the chief priest of the nation. That destiny came to an end when he met Jesus. (Acts 9:1-22) After his conversion he became the greatest missionary the world has ever seen, and had a hand in evangelizing much of what we now call Europe.
When we read Paul’s writings, maybe as much as two thirds of the New Testament, we see a man in recovery, we see recovery language; just look at Romans chapter 7 as an example. We know that all of scripture was inspired by God through the Holy Spirit, and so we know that God is a proponent of recovery. Indeed, the Bible itself is the book of recovery of the entire human race.
In our scripture above, a small sliver of what Paul wrote, we see him making three important statements, and I’m going to put them in recovery language:
- That he doesn’t think he made it through his recovery program under his own power.
- That he is putting the past behind him.
- That he is continuing to work his program.
This shows us a significant mindset, one that ought to be emulated. Paul knows that it is God in him, the Holy Spirit, who has brought him out of his personal pit and into the truth. Paul knows that the past is gone, cannot be changed and is irrelevant to his future. The Paul says that he is going to continue reaching for his prize, the same one we have in Christian recovery, the prize of the upward call of Christ.