Tuesday - Day 2

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By: Kevin & Sylvia Womack

Finishing Well

"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. 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, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind." Philippians 3:12–16 (NKJV) 

Paul expressed an incredible zeal for the Lord and desired to become mature in Christ and be faithful to the end.  These 5 principles will help you. 

Principle #1: Be Dissatisfied (Phil. 3:12)

Paul never permitted himself to be satisfied with his spiritual accomplishments.  You see, Paul had no problem admitting his own shortcomings.  How about you?  For Paul, this was the place where spiritual growth could begin.  A dissatisfaction is essential to make progress in the Christian life.  You must ask yourselves: Are you satisfied with where you are spiritually?

Principle #2: Be Devoted - (Phil. 3:13-14)

Paul’s words, “this one thing I do”, conveys a dynamic truth – the need for a clear focus and a singular devotion.  Instead of “this one thing I do,” we find ourselves dabbling in many things.   Being clearly devoted to our relationship in Christ will cause us to live for what matters most and to have our priorities in order.   Are we truly pressing on toward the spiritual goal to which we have been called?

Principle #3: Be Directed  - (Phil. 3:13)

A key to growth is keeping our eyes focused on the present and future, rather than the past.  If we choose to focus on past mistakes and sins, we risk being immobilized by our guilt and regret.  Paul,  a persecutor and murder of Christians, did not allow his past to define him.  And so shouldn’t we.  Forgetting the things behind simply means to break the power of the past by living for the future.  The past cannot be changed.  Let us live in the present and strive for our future.

Principle #4: Be Determined  (3:13-14)

The word that Paul used for “straining”  or “pressing” is a very vivid word used for runners leaning into the tape, every muscle in full exertion, oblivious to everything else as he throws himself across the finish line.  Paul was determined to accomplish God’s mission and receive God’s reward. By God’s grace, I hope that all of us are inspired by determination as Paul was.

Principle #5: Be Disciplined - (3:15-16)

This living up to what “we have already attained”  speaks of consistent living that is the result of discipline.  Speaks of our making changes, and then sticking with them.  If we do notcontinue to practice spiritual disciplines, we will lose spiritual ground we have gained.  How easy is it to get out of good habits, such as being in church, Bible reading, prayer, and so on? Remember, discipline is well worth the price.

Conclusion:

Why do many start the Christian race, but do not finish well?  There are many reasons and causes. However, the Apostle Paul – in his own words said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. (2 Tim. 4:7).  How did Paul keep his winning edge?  Paul stayed dissatisfied, devoted, directed, determined and disciplined.  Let us follow his example. Let us not ease up or relax. Let us be zealous and press on toward the prize.

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