Summary: Learn from Paul and keep on pressing on. Develop a dissatisfaction for spiritual things, and be devoted to the heavenly cause.
Do you have a dream, or some form of a goal in life?
• You know, when we are young, people usually like to ask: “What would you want to be when you grow up?”
• Obama lived in Jakarta during his primary school years. His teacher said, “It is the common task of class to write an essay on ‘My dream: What I want to be in the future.’ And Obama wrote ‘I want to be a president,’ ” she said.
Usually we think about that when we are young, but not now.
• When we get older, we just live life as it comes. We have no goal or dream. Or we just don’t think much about it.
• But we need to. We need to set targets in life. May not be big or noble ones, but something that will provide the impetus or drive.
• Prov 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
• Someone said, “The size of our dream will determine the size of our life. And no matter how old we are or where we find ourselves, when our memories exceed our dreams, life is over for us.”
What I am thinking about is not to chisel a plaque with a MISSION STATEMENT and pin it up on our wall, like corporation’s mission statement behind the front desk.
• I’m thinking of simple, personal goals – I’m talking about spiritual goals - about my relationship with God, about my role in His church, about the work He has called me to do.
• We need to have a picture of a finishing line, to provide me the direction and impetus. If knowing God is one of my goals, then I may want to plan my time to read through the NT and finish it in one year. If I want to nourish my spiritual life, then I may want to read a Christian book a year.
I’m encouraged by Paul’s undying passion for the Lord.
• He says in 3:12, “Not that I have already been made perfect” talks about his desire to grow to be like Christ.
• He says in 3:14, “I press on toward the goal…” talks about his desire to complete the race, that is, to finish the work God has given him to do.
Paul is not satisfied with where he is at. He is still seeking to grow and improve. There is more to achieve. He wants to do more for Christ.
• And if you know at what stage of life he is at, you will be more amazed.
• When he wrote Philippians, he was under house arrest in Rome, at the last stage of his life, sometime around 62A.D.
By now, he has written the letters to the churches that we have in our Bible.
• If we arrange them in chronological order, the letters he has written by this time are the letters to the Galatians, the Thessalonians, the Corinthians, the Romans, Philemon, Hebrews (likely), Colossians and Ephesians.
• He has already written almost half of the NT that we have today. Look at the immense contributions he has made, in the teaching of God’s truth.
In order words, he has already established these many churches throughout Asia Minor and Greece.
• Not only that, he must have trained pastors and leaders to oversee them.
• And he has served the Lord for over 20 years now, since his ministry started in Jerusalem back in 40AD.
Paul has achieved a great deal, by any standard.
• Yet he is not satisfied. He is not going to retire; he is not going to stop.
• He is still running - “I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” (v.14).
• He could have been thinking about retiring, after starting up so many churches, trained up so many leaders, and written to many letters.
Complacency did not seep in. Lethargy did not set in.
• Paul never permitted himself to be satisfied with his spiritual attainments.
• Are you? Are you contented with where you are? Very satisfied with what we’ve achieved for Christ?
How can we keep the momentum going, in the spiritual sense?
(1) Develop a Sense of Dissatisfaction
Never be content in the spiritual sense.
• To us, Paul has done ‘enough’. But he is not. To him, there is always ‘room for improvement’.
• We are to be contented with what we have, but we cannot be contented with our spiritual walk with God. The time we feel satisfied, we cease to grow.
If you have read the Gospels, read the rest of the NT. If you have finished reading the NT, start reading the OT. If you have read the entire Bible once, do it a second time. These aren’t just noble goals. You are reaping spiritual blessings for eternity to come.