In previous messages we have recognized how this letter from the apostle Paul is passionate and personal. In his epistle to the Philippians Paul now makes self observations and extrapolates his spiritual growth onto his readers.
The apostle describes his own goal, to gain and hold on to that which is of Christ, perfection itself. No such prize is of this life but of the next and Paul knew full well perfection would only come with the death of his body. Such is true for all of us living in Christ.
“12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)
Sharing with his audience that he was fully aware of the fact he had not yet achieved perfection, Paul focuses on the future rather than what is passed, pressing on toward the prize which comes after the race has concluded.
“13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Answering a calling from God Himself, Paul leaves behind his old self, the one that persecuted Christians to now serve the same people he once condemned. Describing himself as a mature Christian the apostle brings confidence to the readers not yet seasoned in Christ or the gospel.
“15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” (Philippians 3:15)
Paul then invites those mature among his audience to adopt a similar view on the immature, that God’s plan is perfect and in time, wisdom and maturity would come to those who seek the great prize that is perfection.
“16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Philippians 3:16)
Here Paul’s wish in for those who have worked on their salvation to make full use of all they have attained through faith in Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Then the apostle calls on the Philippians to follow in his footsteps and just as importantly to watch out for those who do not.
“17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Philippians 3:17)
“18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Philippians 3:18)
Paul has often warned of those who walk in darkness having been a leader among them before he was saved through faith in Jesus Christ. If anyone could see through hypocrites and false teachers it was the apostle Paul.
Pointing out the weaknesses we all struggle with, Paul describes those not in Christ as people who give in to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, greed and pride. These are enemies of Christ headed for the lake of fire bound for destruction.
“19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)
For those in Christ the destination is heaven, where joy and peace are plentiful. The place where Jesus will make His triumphant return as He gives us new bodies with which we will eternally rejoice in perfect harmony.
“20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
Finally perfection will be achieved as the race is won and the prize is awarded to all those who faithfully sought Jesus as their Lord and savior. For Christians the marathon of life brings eternal life. In these verses Paul testifies that Jesus is in deed the way, the truth and the life. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre