Pressing Toward the Goal

PRESSING TOWARDS THE GOAL – Philippians 3:8-14

8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.[1]

There is a saying: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Every good planner sets goals. Before he plans for the future, he has to evaluate how he did the previous year, to avoid repeating the same mistakes or failures. Have you planned something for 2013? Do your goals have only temporal, perishable and self-centered values or eternal, imperishable and Christ-centered values?

Paul has a plan, vs 12,14 – I am pressing on towards the goal with eternal values. He knew the eternal principle of success: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Mat 6:33) He also knew the Master Planner’s promise: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye (Ps 32:8). Thus he set up three crucial things while pursuing his goal, as mentioned in verse 10.

TO KNOW HIM:

The Greek word for ‘know’ (ginosko) has more deeper meaning that just ‘a head’ knowledge, but to learn through personal experience etc Paul wanted not only to have a relationship with God, “be found in Him … through faith in Christ”, but also have and enjoy a continuous fellowship with Him. To him this surpasses all other worldly things that one can ever think of or have. He was ready to pay the cost: counting all other things that he depended upon – his tribe, clan, education, title, religion etc, but loss and rubbish in comparison to the excellence of the knowledge of Christ, through the gospel – justification, sanctification and blessed hope on account of Jesus. Ask yourself, do you ‘know’ Jesus? Is He in you and you in Him? If not, why don’t you invite Him in your life to be your Savior and Lord? But if yes, do enjoy your fellowship with Him, through His Word, prayer, sharing the gospel and meeting with other believers in worship?

POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION

The truth and message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, is the message that has “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). The tomb is empty, Jesus is alive, alive forever more. The power of sin and death is broken, Satan is defeated. And because He lives, we have the assurance of forgiveness of sin, we are justified by faith in Him, our faith is built on a strong foundation, our testimony is true and we have a blessed hope of our resurrection. Glory to God! This is what makes Jesus to be the only Savior of the whole world. There in none like Him, neither on His behalf not co-equal to Him. This is the only ‘good news’ the whole world is waiting to hear. Make this your crucial agenda for this year – reaching others with the gospel, at anytime and at any cost.

FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERING

Suffering is not the message people want to hear. Are you among them? Paul writes in Phil. 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. “Granted?” Yes, granted. Jesus foretold us about being ready to suffer for the sake of His name and the gospel.

Suffering might include: hatred, imprisonment, betrayal, nakedness, hunger, not getting your rights, trials and even death. Suffering don’t just come to us if we don’t live out our faith and share the gospel out of our comfort zone. It was the ‘going out’ to share the gospel that brought sufferings to the believers from the beginning of the early church. Are you ready to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus and the gospel?

Knowing all this, Paul is saying – I press on (pursue to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire) towards “the goal for the prize”. The crown of righteousness, the crown of life, that which is not perishable but imperishable. Are you looking forward for this?

It’s my prayer that this would be your goal for this year. May God’s favor be upon you all.

[1] The New King James Version.Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982

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