Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
In this writing Paul acknowledges he is in a state of imperfection. Paul was under a conviction to press forward, to perfect himself like Christ, leaving behind the failures and sorrows. There is happiness and salvation waiting ahead as we move closer to our heavenly prize. And the ways of heaven is where Paul kept his mind focused.
There is a 40 year old woman named AJ that lives in California. AJ has a unique problem called hyperthymestic syndrome. It’s a big name that means she has a perfect memory. Using no special tricks to help her memorize, she can recall events in detail that happened on particular dates. Pick a date between 1974 and present and she will tell you what day of the week it occurred on. Her recall capability is instant and deeply relates to her life or the lives of those who interested her. She once was asked to write down all the dates for Easter from 1980 to present and she did so, writing all 24 in 10 minutes along with everything she was doing on those days. But even with what seems like a perfect memory, she missed one of the dates. A year later when she was asked to perform the same task she got all the dates right. While we can strive to be perfect in our Christian life, there are times when we just won’t get things right. There are times we mess up, fail, do the wrong thing, and wished we had done something differently. We move towards the perfection God wants for us, but there will be times when we stumble and we just have to get up and try again. What if AJ had said I missed a date, I’m not going to try any more? But instead the next time she was able to make the correction and get things right. It’s why we keep running the race, when we fall, God lifts us up and we keep running the race looking forward to that day of perfection.