7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What 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 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12Not 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. 13Brothers, 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, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All 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. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
I. First, we need to set the goal of total surrender!
A. In verses 7-9 of our text Paul says that whatever I thought was once important, whatever once gave me status and gain, I now count everything as loss of the sake of gaining Christ Jesus!
1. Surrender says, “I give up and I give in!” It is a voluntary choice to relinquish control and authority.
2. One of the big enemies of goal setting is we are not specific enough. In other words, the goal is so ambiguous and vague that it cannot be plotted or measured.
3. The goal of total surrender, though noble and right must have a plan of attack. And that plan of attack will be different for each one of us this morning. Every one of us needs to set the goal of surrender to God, but how we do that, how we accomplish that will be different for each one of us.
4. Be specific in your goal for surrender because to be any less is an invitation for the enemy to demoralize and defeat us because we don’t know how to attain our goal.
5. We must be able to tell whether we have reached our goals or not. What specifically do you want to accomplish and within what time frame?
Illustration: E. Stanley Jones, who was a great missionary to India once said, “The strangest thing on this planet is our fear of surrendering to the one safe place in the universe – God. We hug our present delusions, knowing deep down that they are delusions; but they are present, and we hug them for fear of the unknown. The earth, when it runs away from the sun simply runs into the dark. When we run away from God, refuse to surrender ourselves, then we get on thing – the dark.”
II. But Paul speaks of another goal besides surrender. There is the goal of right behavior.