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Summary: Many of us have started out slow in our walk with God, but we can all finish strong if we desire too.(1) Forgetting what is behind (2)Straining forward (3) Having Maturity

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Running the Race

Philippians chapter 3:12-3:21

Introduction-

As we continue to look at the series “living for Christ”, this morning we look at finishing strong.

In the beginning of chapter 3 of Philippians

We saw that the confidence that Apostle Paul had was once in what he achieved and because of his heritage of being a Jew. It changed on that Damascus Road experience to having confidence in Christ alone.

He based everything on his relationship with Christ and the value of being secure in Christ. Once it was all about him and then it became all about Jesus.

What should happen as we mature in Christ is that our self-centered actions should vanish and we begin being Christ-centered.

Last part of this chapter Apostle Paul compares our Christian life with running a race.

Our series as we work through Philippians has brought us again to a very familiar verse.

This verse reminds me of the tortoise and the hare.

I picture the rabbit running full speed, even at times running backwards making fun of the slow start of the tortoise.

I picture the rabbit being sloppy in the way that that he runs, careless and not watching where he is going. I picture him starting strong and not even finishing.

Philippians 3:12-3:21

I have watched some people jog, there is a lot of styles isn’t there? My legs won’t let me pound the pavement anymore so what I say is not making a joke but proofing a point.

I watch some that have the grace of a gazelle, they are smooth and they look like they could run effortless forever.

There is a man that runs by my house everyday and I watch him run and I hurt. Every movement says pain. He looks like he is gasping for last breath and limps like his knee caps will break off at the joint.

The chiseled one may need water, but the last one needs oxygen and a hospital bed.

What’s the difference between the two?

Conditioning? Yes.

Age? Yes.

Past hurts of the body? Yes.

We are all in a race.

Some look good and some struggle every step.

The apostle just finishes saying that what was once a profit for him is now loss for the sake of Christ.

That knowing Christ and being found in Christ was priority one!

Our text (12) “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

I don’t know about you but that is a comfort to me. That is encouraging to me. Amen. Paul is in a race that he will not finish strong without the help of Jesus Christ his savior.

Paul’s goal was to do Christ will. It was to have the same goal as Christ. He knew that Christ had to supply the resources and the strength to make that happen so he could finish strong.

I do not consider myself there yet, but he is giving it 100% to get there.

He says this is the one thing I do!

I. Forgetting what is behind!

Any good runner knows that turning around and looking back causes us to stumble. The more you look back, the farther you fall behind and the more chance another runner will pass you by.

He is not telling us to loss our memory of all the painful things in our past. God can forgive and forget, but we have a hard time with that. What he is saying is letting the past be in the past. What is behind is done and settled. Amen. It is under the blood of Christ.

You have confessed it to the Lord, He has forgiven you and you are to move on!

The phrase forgive and forget is not in the Bible, God forgives those with a repentant heart and we are to forgive others so we can move on in our lives.

Forgiving does not mean forgetting- your brain did not fall out of your head.

Forgiving does not send the message that what someone did was okay.

God has us forgive so that we can move forward, not based upon the guilty party, but on us moving forward and not allowing the wrong of others to bring us down.

Holding un-forgiveness or resentment for someone, you become bound to that person by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. That is why it is a God thing! Forgiveness is the only way to break that link that holds you.

Why does Paul tell us to forget what is behind?

You cannot run a good race looking back, and you won’t finish strong.

Robert Quillen

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”

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