Summary: An investigation into the human patterns that keep us from passionately following Christ along with Paul’s biblical instruction for pursuing the proper perspective.
“…take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” –Philippians 3:17
The Human Pattern (Philippians 3:4b-6)
4b If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised 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; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
Human Factors Used by Paul to Justify His Spirituality
1. Circumcision on the Eighth Day (followed the law)
2. An Israeli by Birth (citizenship)
3. From the Tribe of Benjamin (family connections)
4. Devout (“a Hebrew of Hebrew”)
5. Conservative (“a Pharisee”)
6. Anti-Christian (stood against competing groups)
7. Moral (followed the rules)
-What human factors do people use today to justify that they are spiritual? What are some of the human factors you tend to use?
The Christ-like Pattern
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What 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 9 and 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. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The Christ-like Pattern’s Factors
1. Nothing Matters as Much as Christ
2. Dependence on what Christ Has Done Versus What We Do
3. Faith is the Focus
4. Knowing Christ, His Power, His Suffering, and Eternity with Him
-Everything is about Christ. He is not a priority; Christ is the priority.
-When do you tend to make Christ top priority? What would it take to make Christ your top priority every moment of every day?
12 Not 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. 13 Brothers, 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Applications for Reprogramming Our Patterns
1. Realize We’re Not There Yet
2. Focus on the Future Instead of the Past
3. Move Forward Toward a Lifestyle 100 Percent Focused on Christ.
-What compels a person to leave everything to share the love of Christ with people in a remote part of the planet?
-What drives a person to abandon their schedule to help hurricane victims they’ve never met?
-Why do people give their lives to study Greek, work in a nursing home with a good attitude, or teach for years and be paid far less than in another career?
-What drives you?
If it’s not Christ, it’s time to readjust. This life is short; eternity is forever. Quit living for your major, your paycheck, or your weekend, and live for Christ. Follow his pattern for life.
-What causes a person to give financially to help children they’ll never know?