What was Paul pressing toward, what was this mark he was speaking of? It might seem obvious that he was speaking of a spiritual prize, but a cursory look around the church world today would reveal that we are missing the mark, we are not longing for and pressing on and into that thing about which Paul was speaking of. Because we take our salvation as a common thing, as granted and over and done with, and because we still have that old man of sin still kicking around in our fleshly members, we have substituted the mark for other targets, namely Money, Influence, Success, Significance. These have become the standard of spirituality in the world today. Sin is defined as missing the mark, and if we have a different mark than God, well then of course we will miss it.
By aiming at the wrong target we are guilty of M-I-S-S ing the mark. When these things become the measure of our sanctification we are as deceived as the rest of the world. We say we don’t do this, but how many times have we looked to someone who seems successful as our spiritual mentor? How is it that the pastors of mega churches seem to be listened to when some of their doctrine and practice is as horrible as any self-help book out there? Why do so many come, supposedly to Christ, and yet they think that God is supposed to bring them up the social ladder. Friends the social ladder is real, but it leads down into hell. Upward mobility isn’t the upward call, and upward mobility isn’t as important as spiritual mobility. Spiritual mobility is where God can move you to any situation and yet you will still be content.
Paul had all these but gave them all up. As a Pharisee he had all the clout that any Jew could have. He had influence as a member of the Sanhedrin, he had studied under a storied rabbi, and was known throughout his world and beyond as a man to be reckoned with. As much as any Jew at the time, Paul had money, influence, success and significance. Yet he left all this for beatings, jail, being despised, and the trials of being the Apostle to the Gentile nations. No, those things he left behind weren’t the mark he was speaking of. The prize is the high calling of God that is in Christ Jesus, all the other stuff is a wrong marker, and it is missing the true mark.
We all seem to want to be skilled Christians, and by that I mean Christians who are skilled in the ways of the world. We want money, influence, success and significance. We are M-I-S-S ing the mark that God has set, because we don’t have our eyes on the real prize. You see skill is being able to hit a target consistently that others miss. But genius is being able to hit a target that no one else sees. As Christians we are not in this to be able to hit worldly targets that we couldn’t hit before. That is not what God is helping us to aim at. We are to hit the target that God sets and no one else sees.
Can you see the mark of God? Don’t ask God for money, don’t seek to be influential, don’t knock on the door of success, and don’t desire to be significant. Instead, be a spiritual genius. That is the upward call, the mind of Christ.