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Summary: A great New’s Year Day message. I talk about having Paul’s attitude of forgetting the past and straining towards the future, enjoy!

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Title: Reach For The Top

Text: Phil 3:12-14

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Introduction:

- This is the time of year, where most people take inventory of there lives and make resolutions to change. Here are the top 10 most popular:

1. Lose weight

2. Stop smoking

3. Stick to a budget

4. Save or earn more money

5. Find a better job

6. Become more organized

7. Exercise more

8. Be more patient at work/with others

9. Eat better

10. Become a better person

- Now the question is do we keep New Years Resolutions?Research shows that nearly half of Americans make a resolution each year

The bad news: Only about 15-20% keep their resolutions

In other words, over 80% of resolution-makers become resolution-breakers!

- Why is that? I think Paul has something to say in our text this morning.

- Paul presses on, or strains ahead.

- Implying there is work involved and commitment to what we are doing.

- I describe that action with this story that I found:

Our lives are fields that primarily contain weeds. We cannot produce strawberries. We can mow the weeds, but that effort alone will never produce acceptable fruit. If we really want that fruit we will have to go deeper. We must plow up the whole field and start again with new plants.

- Paul’s one thing that He is focusing on is to know Christ, to be like Christ, and to be all Christ had in mind for him.

- This goal took all of Paul’s energies.

- What’s our goal today? Is it to know Christ? To be like Christ? Or to have the mind of Christ?

- When we strive for these things as Paul did, we will accomplish everything else we set out to do.

- I think the number 1 reason we don’t reach our goals or accomplish our New Years Resolutions is because we have to many of them.

- Paul focused on one thing, we focus on many things and it become overwhelming.

- For us as Christians if we are to put all our energies into one thing, our New Years Resolution should be to know Christ, and nothing else.

Transition:

- So we have established that Paul focused on one thing and that is to know Christ.

- And for Paul to know Christ meant he had to forget the past.

- Paul had every reason to forget the past, he had watched the ones who had stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr. (Acts 7:57-58)

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- What keeps us from looking forward, to what lies ahead?

- What keeps us always looking into the past?

3 things

1. Regret

- Maybe we made a bad decision.

- We feel guilty for what we have done and it keeps us there. We don’t see that our hope is in Christ and He has forgiven and forgotten our past.

- We have all done things we are ashamed of, but we must learn from Paul and strain forward or press forward and forgetting what was in the past.

2. Comfortableness

- State of being relaxed and feeling no pain

- It’s people who enjoy comfort over pain.

- I think all of us enjoy being comfortable, but when we become comfortable it has the potential to turn into complacency which means satisfaction which then leads to apathy which means unconcern.

- Unconcern for the things around us or for God’s Word.

- Some examples of comfort over pain is:

a. Sleep over getting up for prayer

b. T.V. verses going to church

c. Bills verses paying tithe

d. Serving verses being served.

- When we get into a state of being comfortable, we no longer strive to know Christ.

- We pamper the body over disciplining our lives to be more like God.

- There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable, there are times for that, but we need to have the attitude that Paul is talking about and that is not live in comfortableness but strive to know Christ in every area of our lives.

3. Fear

- There’s the fear of failure

- There’s the fear of the unknown

- There’s the fear of change

- As the old saying goes, “To get what I never had, I have to do what I have never done.”

- Joshua 3:3-4 says, “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, move out from your positions and follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.”

- This produces fear

So how do we look to the future with confidence, like Paul describes in our text?

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