The Progression of a Life that Attains the Goal
If we want a life with no regrets that has value and objective, to experience often the great power of God, to please Him in everything we do, and to receive the prize in the eternal kingdom of God in the future, then it all depends on our relationship with Jesus Christ. From the experience and example of Paul, we can see the aforementioned influences Jesus had on him. This writer hopes to use the testimony of Paul to help us reflect on the progress of our own spiritual journey (Philippians 3:7-16).
1. Connect with Christ, and recognize what the present is and the past was not. ¡§But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.¡¨ (v. 7) If we truly have contact with the Lord, our mind¡¦s eye will certainly perceive our own true colours. We will be like the prodigal son that awakens to his transgressions, inducing actions of repentance. Contrition is to make no more errors of judgment in life, and generates remorse without regret.
2. Know Christ, and live with a new value system. ¡§What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ¡¨ (v. 8) When we really know Christ as the Lord of the Heavenly Kingdom, all of our earthly and impermanent possessions, prestige, position and power will not measure up to our precious Lord in Heaven. Do you really know that the Lord is more precious than all these?
3. Believe in Christ, and no longer be self-righteous but live for God. ¡§And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ¡Xthe righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.¡¦ (v. 9) Through the salvation of the Cross, Jesus Christ brought us into the New Testament era of grace. He bestows the righteousness of God (eternal life) to all those who believe in Him, and lets us learn throughout our lives to depend on the Lord and live a life of faith. Do you daily revere Christ, the author and finisher of our faith?
4. Become like Christ as the secret to a triumphant life. ¡§I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.¡¨ (v. 10-11) If we follow Christ and willingly submit to the Heavenly Father and obey His words, then we will experience the power of the Holy Spirit that is as awesome as the miracle of resurrection.
5. Love Christ, and press on to attain the goal. ¡§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.¡¨ (v. 12) We follow the Lord not because of our role and duty as Christians, but because of the inspiration of His great love, so that we willingly lay aside our own selves and strive to press on. Are you attracted each day by the great love of the Lord to follow Him?
6. Take hold of Christ, and focus on a life that attains the goal. ¡§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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.¡¨ (v. 13-14) The grace of eternal life has been given to us without cost by God. But we must pay a price to receive the everlasting and glorious prize. Let us concentrate on our goal in heaven, focus and act in unison, and strive with all our might to run the heavenly road.
7. Maturity requires time; success needs patience. ¡§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. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.¡¨ (v.15-16) Dear brothers and sisters. We are all at different levels in our knowledge and experience of God. Please do not be impatient, and do not be slovenly. But continue to follow the Lord patiently according to the faith and grace that has been bestowed to you by God. The Lord will surely give you strength through His grace.