"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Paul testifies that he has not made it his own. What is "it"? "It" is perfect righteousness in the presence of Jesus.
When Jesus comes every believer will receive a new body that is perfect. Righteousness will be untainted by sin. Paul is telling us that he has not achieved perfection, but he puts the past out of mind and seeks to live more like Jesus each day by being a good steward of the assignment he has from the Lord.
By faith Paul attempts to obey Lord's commands, fully expecting the Lord to fulfill his acts of faith with His power. Paul's obedience leads to experiential righteousness, that is, he is becoming more what Jesus has already made him. Obedience to Jesus yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness in our lives now.
Paul sees himself running an endurance race in this life on his way to be in the presence of the Lord forever. A runner who looks back, slows himself down and doesn't run as good a race as he could have. If we look back at our past failures or successes, we won't run as good a race as we could have.
We need to keep our eyes on the goal of the race, the finish line. The finish line for the Christian is to be in the presence of Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-3, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Like Paul during the time of his writing, we haven't achieved perfection. We haven't finished our race (our God-given assignments). We have fallen in the race at times. And, we have run some good legs of the race.
Yet, we are encouraged to forget the past and keep pressing on to complete our assignments from God until the day we reach the finish line and are in the presence of Jesus.
What is your assignment from God, the race you are running? Is it parenting, being a husband or wife, your job, being a godly neighbor?
One common assignment for each of us is being a witness for Christ who helps those around us know Him and be saved from sin and its penalty, eternal torment.