Summary: You can tell a lot about a person by what they are running after and what they are running from. Christians have a godly assignment even in a pandemic. .
Paul, who is the writer of our text, provides instructions for the Philippian Church as they move forward to become the best that they could be for Christ. Rather than be complacent with where they were, they needed to set their sights higher. The Apostle Paul gives this church his personal testimony. Paul was never one to let circumstances conquer him. Rather, with the help of God, he was determined to fulfill his God-given purpose. In this text, Paul’s attitude, dedication, determination shines through in a powerful way. You can tell a lot about a person by what they are running after and what they are running from. We have an assignment even in a pandemic.
As men and women of God with different perspectives, needs, and desires must run the Christian race with patience. To be successful, we will need a strategy and solid plan of action. They are so many things that claim our attention, so many goals to reach until it is difficult to stay focused during confusing times. Times are confusing because following God’s word run counter to the culture. How can we reach our potential for Christ? How can we give it our best? Our lives will be advanced or hindrance by what we choose to run from and to run after. The Scripture says, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
Apostle Paul set a good example on how to succeed in the Christian race. He ran his race with a wholehearted commitment, and gave every effort to win Christ. He wants the Philippian Church to strive for excellence as they ran their race for Christ. He understood the high price to be paid, because he had paid it himself. It would take diligence and exertion to attain what God desired for them and for every one of us, but the prize is worth the effort.
Many of us in the body of Christ become motivated and excited about their future and destiny. They make bold declarations of faith about who we are and where we are going but many fail to reach their goals in life because they make wrong choices and others underestimate their opposition. Our goal of becoming the best we can for kingdom of God will be challenged. 1Pe 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: We have an adversary, Satan who desires to stop our progress. We are challenged by Satan who wars against us; he tries to defeat us. The present culture will try to influence us. Popular opinion will try to dictate to us. So, we must have a plan to overcome these things. Every generation has faced these same things.
Apostle Paul had a great affection for this church. It was a benevolent, caring congregation that 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, obtain a good report and desired results, we must pursue godly desires.
When Paul and his companions arrived at Philippi, they met and talked to the women gathered praying by the riverside. Lydia, the apparent leader of the group was converted. She and her family were probably the first members of the Church. Later, Paul encounter a maid who possessed by a spirit of divination. God used Paul to exorcise the demon spirit from her. Her handlers brought charges against Paul. Paul and Silas were scourged and thrown into prison, but an earthquake set them free. During the event, the jailer became a believer. Later, the magistrates repented their mistreatment of Paul after learning that he was Roman citizens and pleading with Paul to leave the city.
The Church at Philippi was made up of Christians Paul dearly love and prayed for. He praised God continually for their fellowship from the beginning of his ministry until end. Paul visited that church more than any other. He addresses them as his brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, his joy and crown, and his beloved.
Consider the characteristics of the Church at Philippi, first (1) It seemed to be the least Jewish of all the Pauline churches. (2) Women seem to be unusually prominent figures in the history and leadership of this church (3) the Church had some splendid men in its membership, who were Macedonian athletics and others were Roman veterans. (4) They enjoyed Christian diversity that rivaled the Church at Antioch - all races and social conditions were brought in harmony living together in peace. (5) They were a very liberal people. They gave themselves to the Lord and to Paul (2Co 8:5), to assist Paul and further the gospel. They gave of their resources gladly and willingly. Four times they gave Paul financial aid. What a awesome privileges it must have been to serve as pastor and founder of such a great church!