Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Paul’s Strategy for Success (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)
By strategies, games in sporting events are won or lost. For example, in baseball, a bunt can be just as important as a home run.  In basketball, a free throw can be just as effective as a three-pointer.  In football, making a field goal can be just as important as a touchdown.  The difference is the strategy.
In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul offers them and us a strategy for success in our pursuit of spiritual excellence.  He had a great affection for this church. This benevolent, caring congregation supported his ministry throughout his career. He wanted them to succeed and flourish in the kingdom of God.
Every child of God should be striving for excellence.  To fulfill my God given purpose is my greatest desire.  If you and I are going to be successful in running this Christian race, that is, to live a life of purpose and to obtain a good report with desired results, we must have a strategy.  After we come to know the Lord personally and intimately, we are challenged to go on to perfection.  In Philippians 3, Paul gives his personal testimony of how he ran the Christian race and offers several suggestions that we might use as strategies.
  • Strategy Number 1: Be willing to confess shortcomings. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect
In pursuit of excellence, Paul acknowledged that he had not arrived.  Anyone who strives for excellence must have a willingness to confess their shortcomings and admit that there is room for improvement.
It is hard to move forward when you feel like you have already arrived.
A willingness to admit and confess our shortcomings is an indication that we recognize room for improvement.  In our lives, there are some things that God alone has to do in us, but there are other things we must do for ourselves.  We cannot do God’s part, and God will not do our part.  
Before we can disciple others, we must be willing to discipline ourselves.  So much of teaching is example that failure in our own journey greatly affects our witness and ministry.
Areas of discipline include:
  • Our spirit - Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.  Proverbs 25:28 
  • Our minds - For as he thinks within himself, so he is.  Proverbs 23:7 
  • Our will - For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. Mark 8:35 
  • Our emotions - These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  John 15:11
  • Our bodies – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 
It is in surrender to God that we will discover the fullness of freedom and power for living each day.

Scripture to Claim:

And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  2Corinthians 12:9

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