Philippians 3

Philippians 3 has Paul’s discussion about the power of Jesus in his life.  But he begins by warning the church to “look out” – three times he uses those words and warns the church to avoid people or things that can cause us to stumble.  Are you looking out and avoiding things that can lead you to sin or away from Jesus?  We certainly need to be alert and aware.  Paul is focused on one thing and one thing alone – Jesus Christ.

Check out how he describes his relationship with Jesus: “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ….I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  Paul has made Jesus the center of his life – his only focus.  And the goes on to tell us that he wants to “know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”.  Paul understands that the power of Christ came with a price – death on the cross – and that he wants to share in those sufferings with Him.  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  But the reality is that becoming like Him means we give us our own rights and become humble and selfless – willing to become nothing.

Paul reminds us to do this “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead….I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.  Are you straining forward to get to God’s plan for your life?  Paul tells us to forget the past – and focus on where we are going.  Way too much time is spent wallowing in the past.  That doesn’t mean we ignore it or pretend it didn’t happen.  It doesn’t mean we don’t evaluate and learn from it.  But we can’t get to where we are going by focusing too much on the past.  We need to find people like Paul and do what he instructs “join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us”.  We need to find examples to follow, and we need to be an example to others to lead.  Sometimes we forget this part of our responsibility as a Christ Follower – others are to follow us.  That is what disciplemaking is all about – leading others to maturity in Christ as they follow our example.  Are you doing that – living life as an example that will lead others to the cross?  Do you have an example to follow that gets you closer to Jesus?  That is our call and God’s command for our lives.

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