It is commonly said that what matters is not the destination but the journey. It isn’t not so much where you’re going, the thought goes, but how you get there. The maxim is applied to life, and, at times, to the Christian life. But like so much in theology and Christianity more widely, it is not an either/or, but a both/and. For a journey requires a destination in order to be a journey. Otherwise it’s called being lost.
Paul’s letters are full of imperatives. He was clearly concerned with the journey, with how Christians lived their lives. But he also was clear that Christians knew where they were going. They have a goal, a prize, a destination. And what they do now matters, because of that. The journey is informed by the destination.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever (1 Cor 9:24-25).