Eye on the Prize

Living for God’s glory is the prize in life, it is the greatest achievement that we can accomplish. Living for God includes dying to self, a process that some consider too high a price to pay. And yet God has already paid the highest price for your life, his Son Jesus Christ.

All of the great realities in life are spiritual.

The things which we see around us today, including our own bodies, are ever changing, from moment to moment. The things that are eternal cannot be seen with the naked eye.

…we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
II Corinthians 4:18

It is vitally important that we know what to focus on, namely the things that are eternal. We need to keep the Kingdom of God, and spiritual realities in the forefront of our daily living. We need to keep our eye on the prize.

If we live FOR God now, we will live WITH God for eternity!

The prize in life is to live for God. If we live FOR God now, we will live WITH him for all eternity. Therefore you need to set your affection, that which you live for, on things above.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. … [And] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:2,4

The New Living Translation says, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

There it is! Living for God and his son Jesus Christ now assures you a glorious future! That is quite a prize. And God wants to help us attain it.

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
I Corinthians 9:24

Here is a paradox: life is not about you, it is about God! But, by making life about God, we excel to our highest calling, and our purpose for being on earth. Or as Jesus put it – lose you life to save it!

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth [to love less] his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
John 12:25

Give yourself over to the Lord. God has never gotten hold of anything and made it worse! Look around you at the beauty of nature, and ask yourself, “What can God do with me if I just trust in him?” “What would happen if I just leaned on him with total abandon?” Because the prize includes being all that God has called you to be here as well. That is your “high calling” in Christ Jesus.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

We need to practice living in a higher realm, with God and his Son. Acts 17:24-28 details our purpose on earth. That God who created all, put man, put us, on this earth to seek the Lord. It is in God that we live and move and have our being.

That means that God is 100% present at all times, everywhere.

God is everywhere present. You are His offspring. God is your Father. And like a father, he wants you to succeed. He is more interested in your well being than you are! Like any good father he wants to reproduce himself in us. And who has better qualities to reproduce than the Lord God Almighty?

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
Psalm 14:1,2

God is seeking those who will seek Him. He is on their side. The fool has said in his heart “there is no God.” But we too, are sometimes foolish, thinking that God has left us, or that he is not thinking about us. It is foolish to think that we are ever alone in this world.
Psalm 46:1-7

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

God is our very present help, in time of trouble, or in time of success. He is always with us. The cry in the heart of every man or woman is, “Please LOVE ME.” God expressed the greatest measure of love and devotion to his children through the death of his only begotten son.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
John 15:13,14

YOU ARE LOVED! You are a miracle of life, full of hope and promise! The Lord has already given his love to you. Now the question is simple, are you going to love him back? That is the highest desire of every parent, that their child would love and trust them completely.

A wonderful term is used in the New Testament to identify the kind of love that the Father desires is in the words, “Abba, Father.” These words are first used by the Christ, in his most trying moments in the garden of Gethsemane.

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
Mark 14:36

Jesus Christ had his eye on the prize, to live for God. And he called out to God in a manner of utmost obedience, but also with the heart of a child in need.

In the Old Testament God’s name was barely mentioned out loud, and was not written in its fulness, some of the letters would be replaced by dashes. They did not feel that they could even mention his name out loud. But, the Christ brought a new relationship with our Heavenly Father, not one that is diminished, or less respectful, but enriched!

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Galatians 4:6

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Romans 8:15,16

As the famous prayer goes, God is OUR Father. He is in heaven. His name is to be hallowed. So what does “Abba, Father” mean? Abba is a term of intimacy used only within the family circle. (Note Rom. 8, “children of God”, and Gal. 4, “sons”) It cannot be used by a stranger or a slave, only by family.

Vines Expository Dictionary defines it as, “Abba” is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning TRUST; “father” expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of a child.”

Abba is the first word a baby was taught, a term of endearment towards their father, and a term of unquestioning trust. Father is when the child is more mature and understands the father as the authority figure, the one who knows best, the one who deserves all honor and respect. The two together express the absolute praise, worship and honor that is due the heavenly Father, but it also expresses the trusting heart of a child, that the Father will supply all that is needed from a heart of love.

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3.4

“Abba, Father”, is the heart by which we enter the kingdom. This is how we live with our eye on the prize; utter and complete trust in God and his ability to provide and lead us in the right way, even if it does not seem easy at the time. Here we have a paradox, to be humble as a little child is greatness in the kingdom of heaven. The relationship we are to have with God is abject humility and trust.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. [translated “future” or “prosperity”]
Jeremiah 29:11

God does not think evil of his children. We need to see ourselves as God sees us! His thoughts toward us are peace, hope and prosperity (being led in the good way.)

The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears,
including your problems!

When we start living life from HIS perspective it changes our self image. To make the most of our life, we must keep the vision of eternity continually in our mind, and the value of it in our heart! Then, let God “have his way” with you.

And now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to him. Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting covenant, signed with his blood. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20,21 NLT

God, who brought our Lord Jesus, from the dead, will equip us with all we need for doing his will. He wants to produce in us, through the power of Jesus Christ, ALL that is pleasing to him. That is a great confidence booster. We can rely on our God with the unwavering confidence of a child.

Where is your focus day by day? What you focus on is where you are going. We need to focus on things above. We need to see ourselves as God sees us, “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” We need to keep our eye on the prize. Living for God’s glory is what this life is all about.