Series: "CHOOSE JOY" • Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: “Growth & Glory”
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 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, 14 I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, 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. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach,and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
We are commanded in scripture to be content with what we have. Our stuff. It’s the opposite of materialism, which is driven by covetousness—a lust for more and more and more. In fact, the Bible tells us that, “...contentment is great gain.” (I Timothy 4:6 NIV)
But there is one kind of contentment that is actually dangerous. While we should always be content with what have, but never with what we are. Our lives should always be restless about our growth. Usually people get it backwards. We often feel pretty good about “where we are” as far as personal growth—but restless about wanting more things.
The Apostle Paul was a pretty advanced human being, wouldn’t you agree? He was a spiritual giant, right? Yet, he reminds the Philippian believers that he wasn’t “there yet”—meaning he saw himself as an on-going work in progress. It’s sort of like hearing Bryce Harper say, “Yeah, well, I’m just learning this game called baseball.” We think of certain people as having “made it.” But smart people are always trying to be better.
Do you want to be a better Christian? Start with the realization that you aren’t anywhere close to being “there” yet. And make sure you have the goal correctly defined. The third chapter of Philippians reminds us that Christ should be our GOAL.
When was the last time I really examined my spiritual condition and evaluated the condition of my relationship with the Lord?
What are some of the things I need to “forget” in order to move forward toward God’s goal for my life?
What needs to change in my life in order for me to be growing as I should?