Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Turn the Page (Part 2)

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14

As with any new year, we have new opportunities.  The New Year is a great time to turn the page on stuff you’d like to get going on and accomplish in the next year.  It’s also a great time to turn the page on some things you should put behind you.  Today we look at the three remaining steps from Five lessons we can learn from Paul:

1.    No matter our current circumstances, we can move on to better and greater things.
Paul was an old man, under house arrest in Rome, just a few years from putting his head on the chopping block when he wrote this letter to the Philippians.  He could have just sat back and “retired” from living for Christ and from ministry, but he was of the opinion that he still had work to do.  And more than that, He still needed to know Christ better.

Here’s a guy who had known Jesus for 10’s of years and probably had a relationship with him that most folks could only dream of, and yet – it wasn’t enough.  It didn’t matter that he was under house arrest. It didn’t matter that he was an older man. It didn’t matter what his current circumstance was. He needed more of Jesus and he was willing to make the effort to make it happen.  And that leads us to the fourth lesson we can take from Paul:

2.    Moving on only happens by intentional, determined effort.
There’s a word that doesn’t fit real well with learning to live for Christ and serve Him: convenience.  I love convenience, and I love only working or praying or studying or whatever, when it’s convenient.
But listen to the words of Paul here in this passage: I press on. Straining toward what is ahead. I press on.  That goes against what I think most Christians would think it takes to know Christ and serve Him better.  Paul was determined to move on from his past and from his present circumstances to gain more of Christ.

3.    The goal is worth the effort.
Paul here calls it a prize. Not just a wage or a paycheck. A prize.  When you focus on Christ and living for Him, you win.  I think so many people have a lukewarm relationship with Christ and no desire to live for Him because they see the work, but they don’t see the prize.  They’ll work for what they can see, but not for something that helps the soul.

But Paul says here that everything he’s done or had isn’t worth what he can gain through knowing Christ and serving Him.  God help all of us to see that the prize is worth the effort.  The bottom-line of what I want to communicate to you through Paul’s words here is that he decided to turn the page – on his past, and even on his present circumstances.  He wanted to move on.  And the new year gives us a great opportunity to do just that.

Scripture to Claim:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 

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