Pressing on into 2015
Philippians 3: 12 - 17
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No matter what kind of a year we have had, good or bad there is always room for growth in the coming year. That was the mindset of the Apostle Paul.
In these 6 verses, Paul lays out a great game plan, that will help us to become all that God wants us to be, if we would just put them into practice, so that we can equip people to reach their full potential in Jesus Christ.
1. We should never be satisfied v. 12, 13b
It would have been very easy for Paul to say, “I have made it to the top, and it is wonderful here. Now I can just sit back and revel in my success.” But Paul does not say that. Instead he does some self-introspection and here is what he discovered - he still had more to do.
v. 12 - “Not that I have already attained or am already perfected”. Paul is acknowledging that he still has things to do and ways to grow. Sure he had had some great success, but he realized that there was more for him to do. He knew that he was not perfect. He knew that he was not everything that God wanted him to be.
Paul had the same attitude that a lot of top athletes have. Even when they seem to be at the top of their game, even when they have just won the championship, the top athletes know that there is still much to do in order to stay on top. Top athletes don’t stay on top by taking it easy in the off-season. They work hard all year round.
Paul goes on to say “but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Paul was consumed with living for God. He had been redeemed by God so that He could mold Paul into the vessel that He wanted Paul to become.
The phrase “lay hold of” in v. 12 and the word “apprehended” in v. 13, has the idea of seizing with eagerness or to comprehend. Paul lived every day so that he could be more like Jesus. He eagerly grabbed on to his Saviour andhis plan for his life so that he knew what Christ wanted from his life.
The word “press on” has the idea of pursing like a hunter. Paul relentlessly went in pursuit of becoming more like Jesus, in the same way that a hunter would relentlessly pursue a trophy buck!
Then Paul goes on to say - “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind.” The word “forgetting” means to forget and therefore choose to neglect or nurture that which was forgotten. It means that Paul was not going to live in the past in the “good old days”. Some people are so stuck in the past, that they can’t move forward. It’s not wrong to remember the things of the past, but it is wrong to live there.
Even when Paul was succeeding, he did not rest on his accomplishments. Paul kept pressing on. One success does not automatically guarantee more success. Paul had the mindset that he would not let his past successes affect his future. He was going to press on no matter the cost. He was not going to take it easy.
On the other side of the coin, Paul was not going to let the past failures or setbacks get him down. In other words, Paul was not going to be defined by the past. Your past does not disqualify you.
“The Christian life is a series of new beginnings.”
So to sum up the first point - “We should never be satisfied” because -