“I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize.”—PHIL. 3:14.
THE apostle Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus, came from a prominent family. He was instructed in his ancestral religion by the famous Law teacher Gamaliel. (Acts 22:3) Paul had what was considered a fine career ahead of him; yet he abandoned his religion and became a Christian. He then looked forward to the prize of eternal life that was held out to him—that of being an immortal king and priest in God’s heavenly Kingdom. That Kingdom will rule over a paradise earth.—Matt. 6:10; Rev. 7:4; 20:6.
Showing how highly Paul valued that prize, he said: “What things were gains to me, these I have considered loss on account of the Christ. Why, for that matter, I do indeed also consider all things to be loss on account of the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. On account of him I have taken the loss of all things and I consider them as a lot of refuse.” (Phil. 3:7, 8) The things that most people consider important—position, wealth, career, prestige—Paul considered to be refuse after he learned the truth about Jehovah’s purpose for mankind.
From then on, what really mattered to Paul was the precious knowledge of Jehovah and Christ, regarding which Jesus said in prayer to God: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Paul’s earnest desire to attain eternal life is evident in his words recorded at Philippians 3:14: “I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.”