Summary: Focus on God’s joy goes a long way in our troubled times.
A life that’s focused
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-- 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
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.
An elderly couple had dinner at another couple’s house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen. The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, "Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly."
The other man said, "What is the name of the restaurant?"
The first man thought and thought and finally said, "What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know... the one that is red and has thorns."
"Do you mean a rose?"
"Yes," the man said. He turned toward the kitchen and yelled, "Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?"
As the days go by, we may forget what we are living for. Got so much on our plates don’t we? Bills to pay, taxes to pay, and more taxes to pay, kids who need help on their homework, home to clean, garbage to take out, piles of laundry to do. The list goes on. It does not help when Iraq and N Korea appears to be breathing down the necks of North America. Whole world’s focus on that it seems. The world’s focus perhaps in keyed on Mr. Hans Blix chief UN weapons inspector this week said “We are not watching the destruction of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed.” Every word he speaks seems so pivotal to war or peace. So I am glad u are here, take a breather.
So what are u living for? To help the government pay their bills?
When we are asked the question what you are living for? Some of us are like that elderly man, we sit and think and think. Nothing comes. Are we living to get stuff? It could be gone in an instant. Victims of fire, flood, tornadoes and earthquakes will agree to that. What are u living for? What’s your life about?
For the Apostle Paul, if he was asked what he was living for. He would say “two words” – “Jesus Christ.” Paul’s testimony
“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” Here’s a guy who’s got it made – educated, good pedigree, he’s got great credentials, he’s a guy who’s on the A list. H He is the MVP of his time. A gold medal player – the Gretzky, the Jordan, the best. Yet he said