"I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (ASV)
As Christians, it's easy to get caught up in the world around us and forget our purpose. We worry about what people will think. We fret over the little details of life. We spend time accumulating possessions. We forget that we are only visitors here on Earth. Our home lies elsewhere.
Paul reminds us that we have a higher goal in mind than worldly success, popularity, wealth or power. He is echoing the sentiment of Matthew 6:19-20 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" (ASV) We are not to concern ourselves overly much with the things of this world because they won't last anyway. We need to focus more on the things that are eternal.
Of course, this is easier said than done. It's hard to remain focused on things that we can't yet experience or see, when so much is going on around us that looks so tempting. It's hard to remember that the things we see around us are temporary when they seem so permanent. It's hard to have an eternal viewpoint when living in a mortal body.
So what is eternal? Well, God for starters. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8 ASV) Love is also eternal. "And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him." (1 John 4:16 ASV) This is the foundation of the two greatest commandments, according to Jesus (see Matthew 22:36-40). If we focus simply on loving God and secondly on loving one another, we will find plenty to fill our time. Also, we'll find that as long as we are doing these two things, the rest of God's commandments will naturally fall in line.
So the next time you find yourself weighed down by the things of this world, pause for a moment and remember your purpose. You may just find that all of those worries are not so important after all!