Summary: The Apostle Paul gives this church his personal testimony because 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, and determi
Subject: Paul’s Strategy for Success
Text: Philippians 3:12-14
Introduction: Paul, who is the writer of our text, provides a strategy 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, the Philippians needed to set their sights higher. The Apostle Paul gives this church his personal testimony because 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, and determination shine through in a powerful way.
If, as men and women of God who have different perspectives, needs, and desires, we are to run this race with patience, we will need strategies for successfully completing our God-given purposes. They are so many things in the world that claim our attention and so many goals to reach until it is difficult to stay focused in these busy, perplexing times. How can we reach our potential for Christ? How can we give Him our best?
Apostle Paul sets 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. 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 price is worth the effort.
Many of us in the body of Christ become motivated and excited about our futures and destinies. We 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 have no strategy for success. A strategy is a well thought out, workable plan for making progress. Our goal of becoming the best we can for the kingdom of God will be challenged. For this reason, Paul tells us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)
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. Therefore, we must have a workable strategy in order to overcome him, but we are challenged by our own limitations. All of us have limitations, but limitations do not have the power to rob us of success, if we have a workable strategy. In this text, I believe Paul offers us a workable strategy.
By strategies, games in sporting events are won or lost. For example, in baseball, a blunt 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.
Apostle Paul had a great affection for this church. Its 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.
Apostle Paul is very open with us in the Scriptures. In the book of Acts, we are allowed to experience many of his trials, hardships, and struggles in his personal travels. In First and Second Corinthians, we witness his personal ministry. Notice the following two passages from First and Second Corinthians, where Paul defends his apostleship and ministry. He talks more about his ministry in these two books than in any of his other books in the Bible.
In First Corinthians 15:8-10, Paul argues of his apostleship, " And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, and am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me."
Then in Second Corinthians 11:5, Paul describes his ministry by saying, "For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles, but though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge..." The idea is that Paul labored as a debtor to Christ. He was overcome with love and appreciation that Christ had called him and was using him in His service. Then Paul confessed that he had less natural talent, less natural ability, and though his speech was rude he was able to accomplish more than all the other apostles. Paul learned how to maximize the moment. He learned how to labor more often, to be more productive, and to get better results than the other apostles did. How could this apostle accomplish so much? He had what appeared to be rather serious limitations.