One of my favorite games to play is “Capture the Flag.” One reason I love to play capture the flag is the game’s simplicity. Basically, you are on one team trying to get the opposing team’s flag. The opposing team is trying to get your flag. Whichever team brings the opposing team’s flag back to their home base wins. The opposing team’s flag is the only prize for victory.
Everyone seeks prizes every day. You may be attempting to secure the prize of a new phone, computer, or a car. Perhaps, you are trying to seize a good job opportunity or make it into college. Possibly, you are seeking the prize of popularity or looking to go out with someone on a date. Whatever image the prize takes, the fact remains there are prizes everyone seeks to take.
There is a prize that is priceless. It is not a diamond, a document, or tuition fees at a prestigious university. This prize is more valuable than all of those things combined. This prize is also available to everyone. We all have an opportunity to accept God’s offering of salvation from our sins. If we take advantage of God’s gift of salvation from our sin, then we will be richly blessed.
One blessing of accepting God’s gift is the name we receive. All people who have accepted God’s gift can be called Christians. We see God’s people were first called Christians in Acts 11:26. Having a name that connects us with our Savior is a blessing I often take for granted.
Another blessing we have as Christians is our calling. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” In the verses previous to Philippians 3:14, Paul had been talking about how faith in Christ is everything, and everything else was nothing by comparison.
Paul’s statement would sound crazy to someone who is seeking the world’s prizes. They would ask, “How can one prize be more important than all the other prizes combined?” Paul further explained his point in verse 20: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Getting to be in Heaven with God is the ultimate prize. No other earthly prize comes close to matching the excellence of the prize of Heaven.
In capture the flag, your biggest priority is getting the other team’s flag. If we want to reach heaven, we must make it our unquestioned number one priority. Even when we keep our focus on capturing the other team’s flag, there will be times when we lose, but at other times we will win. As Christians, if we earnestly press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, then we can be certain of our prize. Paul was certain of his reward. 2 Timothy 4:8 reads, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
Everyone is seeking prizes. Honestly ask yourself, “What prizes am I seeking?” Perhaps, some of those prizes are good, and you should continue to pursue them. It may be there are some prizes you should stop seeking. I hope all of us will fervently strive to follow the path that leads to the perfect prize. Let us remember, as the old song puts it, “Heaven will surely be worth it all.”