If I had to put a title on the Chapter; one suggestion might be “Christian Duty and Goals.” The first 11 verses are full of Paul explaining how we are to know Christ, be righteous and be weary of those who do evil. In other words earthly duties.
The remainder of the Chapter verses 12-21 heavenly goals or what we are to focus on to achieve Glory with Christ.
Verse 12 and 13 set up out text; note Paul says:
Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on… Paul does not claim perfection only consistent action towards it
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead – by not focusing on past sins but learning from those errors he can focus on the pressing forward
I press – It is up to us to take action, using Paul as an example we can clearly see no one is called to be a couch potato Christian
toward the mark – The mark or goal, here a most likely a reference to the finish line in a race; for Christians the “Mark” or “Goal” is simple as Paul puts it For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain Philippians 1:21. Our end game if you will is eternity with our LORD and Savior.
for the prize – The “Goal” and “Prize” are not the same. As noted above the “GOAL” is eternal life with Christ, the Prize is the the Crown of Life, the incorruptible crown; righteousness, and glory, that fadeth not away, ( James 1:12 ) ( 2 Timothy 4:8 ) ( 1 Peter 5:4 )
of the high calling – Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible – Unabridged High calling , [ tees (Greek #3588) anoo (Greek #507) kleeseoos (Greek #2821)] – ‘the calling that is above’ (Galatians 4:26; Colossians 3:1); the “heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1). “The prize” is the “crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8; Revelation 2:10, “crown of life;” 1 Peter 5:4 “a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”) “The high calling” is not Paul’s calling as an apostle by God from heaven, but that of all Christians to salvation in Christ, which coming from, invites us to, heaven, where accordingly our minds ought to he uplifted (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
of God in Christ Jesus. – Paul’s gaze was ever upward not just forward. This little phrase has great doctrinal and theological significance, for Paul is saying the prize, the goal, all the forward motion is focused upon Christ.
We live in a BUSY, DISTRACTING and often TUMULTUOUS world. For the unbeliever their life goes on without hope of getting better. For the Christian however everyday our hope is strengthened as we run the race towards the prize and goal that has been promised to us.
Are we going to stumble along the way, you bet. Like Paul we are not perfect. I would hope and pray like Paul you would know that the Prize and Goal is well worth the daily race.