There are 2 dangers that we face in life as followers of Christ Jesus. On one hand, we can become so discouraged by the trials of life, our apparent lack of progress were simply the state of the world around us, but we simply stop trying, while on the other hand, we may think that we have arrived and therefore we can rest on our accomplishments. While these may seem to be polar opposites, the effect on ourselves and those around us is the same, nothing further is accomplished.
In the 3rd chapter of Philippians, Paul recounts his heritage and his accomplishment and if he were to consider comparing himself to others, he might be justified in thinking that he had accomplished everything that was necessary, but instead, he considered all of these things fit for the garbage pile. He goes on to say: “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. 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, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12–14 (NLT)
In life it is virtually impossible to maintain the status quo; either we are growing and moving forward or we are retreating or we are decaying. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul uses athletics as an illustration:“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:25–27 (NLT)
In order to maintain a high level of motivation, it is important to understand that a believer's primary goal should not be just to avoid hell and go to heaven, but it is to enter into and maintain an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our goal and the One for whom we are pressing on. He is more than eternal life, he is life itself. He should not be the means by which we can obtain what we desire, instead he is what we desire. “And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This Jesus is both True God and Real Life.” 1 John 5:20 (MESSAGE)
From this we see that Jesus is truth and real life. Each one of us should desire to press on to know Christ. There is no more worthwhile endeavor than to press on to know Christ. We must be like Paul, who when he checked the balance sheet of his life, evaluated everything and counted everything worthless in comparison to knowing Christ Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
When our goal is Christ and we have our focus firmly fixed upon him, we will not allow discouragement or distractions to deter us and as long as we are in this life, we will not fully grasp the goal for which we are striving. We keep pressing on toward him because He is the only one who provides ultimate fulfillment.