Press On to Win the Prize! Part 1 of 2

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 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. Philippians 3:12-14 NIV

The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Philippi that he counted everything as loss because of the unsurpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ and having a righteousness through faith in Christ. He wanted to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. How did he prepare for the prize? One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. He kept his focus on the goal despite setbacks, persecution, prison, and a “thorn in the flesh.”

As I join the nations in watching the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in China, I am impressed by the stories of athletes who have gone through trials and setbacks that threatened to keep them from competitions, yet they press on to compete in the Olympics. Allow me share a couple of their stories, and the thoughts I have of how the athletes’ perseverance can also be applied in our Christian race for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  

The first thing I noted was the media focus on the past and present failures the athletes had. The world is watching the athletes, and it is watching us, noting failures as well as success. How we deal with our falls will determine how we do in the future.

Our race can be filled with difficulties of all sorts. Some are of our own doing: sin and its accompanying bad choices cause additional problems, pain in relationships, distance between us and God, and sometimes, scandal. When we fall into sin, we need to stop our sin, accept the consequences, and ask Christ’s forgiveness which He freely gives to us.

Other trials may include health issues, separation from others, financial difficulties, fear, or other issues that make the race hard. Many of the Olympian athletes were returning from injuries that could have stopped their quest for the medals even after their injuries healed.

Consider the hardships faced by Team USA’s Elana Meyers Taylor and Kaillie Humphries, both bobsled pilots, four time Olympians and until last week, three time medalists. They spent the first week of their time in Beijing in quarantine. Meyers Taylor tested positive for COVID-19. Humphries was a close contact. That quarantine time impacted their ability to train before their bobsled events, and especially training for the debut of the monobob event. On Meyers Taylor’s first training run back, she finished fifth; and 10th on her second run.[i]

Meyers Taylor and Humphries pressed on through the competition over the following days. Meyers Taylor won silver, Humphries won gold. After their wins, Meyers Taylor shared her feeling about it. “It feels better than gold.” Meyers Taylor said. When she tested positive for COVID-19, she spent a week in isolation away from her husband and almost-two-year-old son, Nico.  “This is definitely the most difficult medal I’ve ever earned,” she continued. “It’s definitely been the hardest journey to get here. I am so excited to take this medal back to my son.” [ii]

Some athletes never make it to the Olympics. “Speed skater Erin Jackson, the first Black woman to make the American long track team in 2018 and the number one in the world at 500m, finished third at the U.S. trials in January” after slipping. It knocked her from the Olympic competition —until the selfless act of her friend and teammate Brittany Bowe. “Bowe went on to win the 500m as a result. Having already qualified in her better events, the 1000m and 1500m, Bowe gave up her spot” to her friend.[iii]

We also have fallen, each of us. We don’t deserve the chance of the prize. Our own teammate, Jesus, took our penalty for sin with His death on the cross. His selfless act allows us, through faith, to win the prize of being found in His righteousness and knowing Christ!

Photo by Pixabay on

Like Paul, our prize is so much greater than a gold, silver, or bronze medal. Let’s keep our focus on the goal.

In Part Two, I’ll share some lessons on overcoming failure shared by Olympians which may be applied in our own lives.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the prize of the unsurpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ and having a righteousness through faith in Christ. Help us keep our focus on You and Your Word. Amen.




[iii] Erin Jackson’s gold-medal story, co-written by Brittany Bowe, is “unbelievable”By Shintaro Kano| 13 February 2022 6:57

Photo at top by RODNAE Productions on

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my blog. Devotionals post every other Thursday, with past devotionals still available under Devotionals. You may follow my blog and it will be sent to you. Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you! ~ Kathryn


Let Love Be Genuine

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9, 10 RSV

Valentine’s Day decorations flood the stores right now with hearts, flowers, lace, jewelry, and candy. Some items are fun to see for a week or so, and then end up as clutter or are packed or thrown away. Others are beautiful or delicious. Don’t forget the cards! Choosing a Valentine’s card from the wide selection can be a bit overwhelming. My husband has learned that I like cards that express a loving feeling, so he usually gets me one written in that style, yet he prefers the humorous cards, which fit his fondness for making jokes and telling funny stories. No card will adequately express how much I love my husband, my grown children, or my friends and relatives, yet I still have much to learn about loving them more genuinely and showing them honor.  

The Apostle Paul wrote to Christians telling them, and us, to let love be genuine. The NLT version says, Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.

Think how wonderful the world would be if everyone really loved each other. Genuine love is patient and kind. I know I need to grow in this; how often I have shown my impatience at delays, interruptions, or at someone not hearing me when I’ve said something three times already.  

When people disappoint us or hurt us, sometimes it’s easy to dislike or even hate others. Instead, may we hate what is evil or wrong, and hold tightly to what is good. I’m not suggesting anyone should stay in a dangerous situation. There are consequences for the person’s behavior that may require distance even after forgiveness has been given. However, when a person is rebellious or difficult, we can lose sight of the good part of the person. Our focus can become that of gossiping about and belittling the person with whom we have problems. Anger and resentment will eat at our peace and joy. 

Genuine love shows no partiality, it does not play favorites. When we love each other in sincerity, we can live in harmony with each other.  Real love serves other people. Real love honors others.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10 NLT  

How can we honor others above ourselves?  This is only a short list. Feel free to send me more ideas that can be shared.

  • Honor the Lord God in all that we say, do, and think.
  • Show respect.
  • Really listen to what others say to us. Engage in what the person is saying by paying attention.
  • Listen to the same story someone shares even though we heard it fifty times before. Laugh if appropriate.
  • Don’t gossip.
  • Put another’s needs before our own.

Boyd Bailey gives several suggestions of ways we can honor others in Honor One Another. Consider this excerpt:

How else can you honor those in your circle of influence? One wise habit of humility is to ask a friend for advice and then act on their advice. A spouse or colleague feels valued when their suggestion makes a positive impact on your life. When you truly listen to another’s opinion you give oxygen to their esteem and you give respect to the relationship. Honor accepts a person where they are and looks to discern their heart.

Used with permission from Wisdom Hunters. See additional insights on honoring others in Honor One Another by Boyd Bailey at Wisdom Hunters

Let’s delight in honoring each other! May our love for others be genuine.

Lord, thank you for being the ultimate example of genuine love. Help us to love our families, friends, strangers, and ourselves as You love. Help us to delight in honoring others.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my blog. Devotionals post every other Thursday, with past devotionals archived. You may follow my blog and it will be sent to you. Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you! ~ Kathryn