Paul writes, “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:16). Paul was picturing the day when he would stand in Christ’s presence and the secrets of redemption would be unveiled.
Scripture says that on that day our eyes will be opened, and we’ll behold the Lord’s glory without rebuke from him. Our hearts will be set on fire as he opens all the mysteries of the universe and shows us his power behind it. Suddenly, we’ll see the reality of all that had been available to us in our earthly trials: the power and resources of heaven, the protective angels, the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
As we behold the awesomeness of these things, the Lord will say to us, “All along, my warriors were camped about you, an entire army of powerful messengers assigned to you. You were never in any danger from Satan. You never had any reason to fear your tomorrows.”
Then Christ will show us the Father, and what an overwhelming moment that will be. As we behold the majesty of our heavenly Father, we’ll fully realize his love and care for us, and suddenly the truth will come to us in full force: “This was, and is, and forever will be our Father, truly the great ‘I AM.’”
Here is why Paul “held forth” his word about God’s faithfulness. On that glorious day, he didn’t want to stand in the Lord’s presence thinking, “How could I have been so blind? Why didn’t I fully trust my Lord’s purposes? All my worries and questions were in vain.”
Paul is exhorting us: “I want to rejoice on that day, when my eyes are fully opened. I want to be able to enjoy every revelation knowing I trusted in his promises, that I didn’t go about my labors full of doubt. I want to know that I held forth the Word of life in all my reactions to my sufferings, that I fought a good fight, that I proved my Lord faithful.”
Paul then sums it up with the word: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13). In short, he thought it was impossible to place his future into the Lord’s hands without first laying down his past.