The apostle Paul wrote the Philippians: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13,14). The word, goal, “is used metaphorically of an aim or object in Phil. 3:14” (W.E. Vine). Paul’s aim (goal), as a runner, was to cross the finish line and win the prize, which is the “the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:9).
In Beaufort, South Carolina, an English Sea captain was buried in a standing position with his face toward England. That was his aim in life and he wanted to be buried facing his goal. If we were buried facing our goal, which way would we be buried? Would we be buried toward an athletic stadium, a gymnasium, lake, hunting club, golf course, bank, or some other material object that will pass away?
Paul exhorted the Colossians: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3). In order to set our minds on things above, we must turn away from, put to death, “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (v. 5). Anything that takes the place of God in our affection becomes our idol. He also said that we must put off “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of (our) mouth” (v. 8).
In contrast to that, Paul said those who have their minds set on things above will “put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (vs. 13,14).
Remember, we cannot travel the wrong direction and reach the right destination. Usually, people can perceive our goals by watching our lives. God can always know, and that is the most important consideration. What does He see us putting first in our lives?