“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” 

Philippians 3:14

The Apostle Paul knew his purpose in life.  Paul knew what his mark was.  Paul knew what the prize was that he was pursuing.

Do you know your purpose?  Do you know your mark?  If we are going to press toward the mark, we have to know what our purpose is.

You are not an accident.  You were not a mistake.  God designed your life with a purpose in mind.  And peace comes when we know our purpose and fulfill our purpose.  Fulfillment comes when we know the mark and press toward the mark.

Do not try to live out the purpose of another person.  It will frustrate you. 

In the Old Testament, Moses chose leaders and appointed them as captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens.  (Deuteronomy 1:15)

I may not be a captain over fifties, or hundreds, or thousands, but I can be a leader of tens if that is where God has placed me.

Some ground may bring forth a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.  (Matthew 13:8)

God may have given you five talents, or two talents, or perhaps one talent.  (Matthew 25:15)

Know your purpose, find your mark, and press toward that mark.  And do not compare yourself to others.  Paul said that we should not “compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”  (2 Corinthians 10:12)

When I consider those in the Bible who exemplified this principle, I think of John.  Not John the Beloved, but the other John: John the Baptist.  John the apostle begins his Gospel in the opening verses telling us about the other John.  You see, John, the disciple of Jesus, began as John, the disciple of John the Baptist.  John the Baptist introduced John the Beloved to Jesus.

John the apostle left John the Baptist to follow after Christ.  And John the Baptist was okay with that.  Because he knew that he was not the Messiah, he was not the Christ.  In fact, he knew he was not Isaiah.  And he knew he was not Elijah.  And he was okay with that because he knew what his purpose was.

John the Baptist introduced his followers to Jesus by stating: “He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.” (John 1:15)  John knew that he was not that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  (John 1:8)  John said that He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.  (Matthew 3:11)

John the Baptist was a great man because he knew there was someone greater than him.  And he was okay with that.

Shortly after John fulfilled the purpose for which he was on Earth to do, he was beheaded.  And when Christ gave his eulogy, He said, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.”  (Matthew 11:11) 

John the Baptist never wrote a book of the Bible.  He never performed a miracle.  He never parted a sea.  He did not do what Moses did.  He did not perform the miracles that Elijah or Elisha did. 

He never raised the dead.  He never healed a lame man.  He never cast out demons.  He was not in the palace like Daniel.  He was not a statesman like Isaiah.  He never led a nation into the Promised Land.  He never killed a giant.  He never built a temple.  In fact, the life and ministry of John the Baptist were shorter than all the others’ lives and ministries. 

But Jesus said, “There is none greater than John the Baptist.”

John simply said, “I am a voice.”

“I am not a priest.  I am not a king.  I am not one of the great leaders of Israel.  I may never build a great church.  I may never write a book.  But I know my place.  I know my purpose.  I know the mark.  And I press toward the mark.”

And Jesus said of him, “None greater than John the Baptist.”

Do you know your purpose?  Find your purpose.  Find your mark.  And press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.


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David Sloan

David Sloan, Spanish Pastor

David Sloan serves as pastor of the Spanish Department of North Valley Baptist Church. He and his family were missionaries in the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East, where he served as United States representative to the Christian Caucus in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. He and his wife Jolene have five children. Bro. Sloan is part of a missionary heritage of fourteen families who serve on the mission field, spanning seven countries and four continents. He is also the Missions Director at Golden State Baptist College.