Paul is a godly example to Christians from every time. His conversion to Jesus required him to leave behind his Jewish status as a Pharisee, his pride in his lineage, and his life goal to destroy the church. In Philippians 3, Paul wrote about what he left behind and what he had gained as a follower of Jesus. Being counted righteous by God because of Jesus was worth everything Paul lost. He looked forward to being raised from the dead and maintained his faithful walk with God because of that hope.
Paul recognized his imperfection and committed himself to perpetual improvement. Every Christian who hopes in the resurrection must do the same. Christians are not perfect people. It is God’s goal that we should continue improving while we live. Paul put it this way in Philippians 3:14: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul thought of Christianity as an upward call that leads to a prize. If he stopped moving upward, if he stopped pressing on, he would not reach the prize. The idea of continual improvement is easy to understand on the surface but can be difficult to apply moment by moment. What improvements need to be made first? Where should my attention be focused? To give some direction to your efforts, consider the Philippian letter.
Philippians centers on the joy that is found in selfless service to others. In Philippians 2:5-8, Jesus is displayed as a humble, obedient servant to God for our good. In Philippians 2:19-21, Timothy is regarded as being genuinely concerned for the welfare of the church. Philippians 2:25 shows us Epaphroditus, a man who loved the brethren and served at his own peril. Philippians 1:18 shows Paul joining these others by rejoicing over the progress of the gospel, even when it made his life more difficult. More selfless service that rejoices in the progress of the gospel is what every Christian needs.
The upward call is the call to serve God’s purposes, to share the gospel, to encourage your brethren, and lend your hands to their efforts in Christ. Not one of us has reached the end of our usefulness to God. Keep pressing on, keep serving selflessly, and you will receive the eternal reward from the Father on the last day when you are welcomed into His presence forever.