Brothers and sisters, 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,
what greater adventure than to know who we are in Christ?
i mean really know who we are, and what we are here for.
our scripture verse of the summer is taken from Paul’s message to the Philippians, a message written while he was in captivity. here he tells them that what is behind does not matter, but what is ahead is of the most importance. the verses that come from this portion of scripture just breathe new life into me. our current state of living illuminates how captive we are to sins of all kinds and desperately needing rescue.
the growth from this place of sin to a mindset of faith and anticipation can be mapped out right here in the third chapter of Paul’s letter. going from here to there is not easy, and it is absolutely necessary. faith and trust are big words with small impact anymore; but revisiting the depths of their meaning can help us embark on the adventure of leaving the temporary behind and seeking the eternal once again.
1. Rejoice in the Lord. (Phil 3:1)
plain and simple; praise His name! He is the one who brought everything to being, and the reason we live and seek meaning each day. Paul sat in restraint from just about every freedom he once knew and still considered himself a free man thanks to the eternity waiting for him. rejoice in the love and promises of God and stay fixed on what is to come.
2. Put no confidence in the flesh. (Phil 3:3)
this is our temporary home, period.
3. Consider gains a loss for the sake of Christ. (Phil 3:7)
we can enjoy this life and live it to the fullest, but it is all for nothing if we do not live it for God. working and earning and living only to please ourselves is a waste. but working and earning and living to serve the God who has an inheritance waiting for us is a wise investment. God tells us all through the Bible that He is the only constant and eternal thing. Solomon spoke of this as he explained that everything is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes)
4. Participate in His sufferings. (Phil 3:10)
some say “take up your cross” and others say “carry one another’s burdens.” sometimes, i like to say “participate in His sufferings” because it just creates an instant image in my mind of what my Lord went through for me. He suffered… the worst kind of suffering and the most immense amount of pain, all so that i could have a second chance at attaining life. by participating in His suffering we choose to see our sin and act on that. we choose to know that we are redeemed. we then (hopefully) choose to live more graciously because of it. i love how Paul said here “i want to know Christ… and become like Him in His death” that is huge girls..
5. Press on. (Phil 3:14)
press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus. press on toward the grand finale. press on toward your inheritance! it’s a daily act and should take us by the heart each time we remember just what we are doing here.
also, there is a reason that Paul uses these words “press on.” the same word used here in Paul’s act of pressing on toward faith was also used in Acts 26:15. there, he was still named Saul, was heading to Damascus and was met on the road by Jesus.
“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.”
the word for persecuting in Acts and press in Philippians are the same Greek word: dioko, number 1377. it means “to aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch; earnestly pursue or zealously persecute; desiring to overtake.”
talk about an amazing full circle moment for Paul. a man who once persecuted Christians came to sit in captivity for His faith and wrote with tears in his eyes and courage in his heart. just as earnestly as he tried to stop Christ’s work, he then tried to further it.
i encourage you to review these scriptures and maybe even copy down the five points for sustaining faith and getting “from here to there.” just as we will pack up and hit the road for a trip, we need to pack our hearts as we head out into the world each day.
Paul of all people knew what it was to stumble and the act of sustaining faith was a daily task for him. he had to remind himself each day of where he used to be and press on toward, aggressively chase and pursue, the riches that he wholeheartedly believed God had reserved for him in the form of forgiveness and eternal life. THAT is an adventure, girls!
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