Summary: Apostle Paul often spoke of his Christian life as if running in the Olympic Games. I believe Paul watched those games many times and running was probably the most competitive. What prize was Paul running for? Salvation is not the prize
What goals we have helps in knowing what obstacles we might face.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Apostle Paul often spoke of his Christian life as if running in the Olympic Games. I believe Paul watched those games many times and running was probably the most competitive.
What prize was Paul running for? Salvation is not the prize. Either we have Christ or we don’t have Him. We either trust Him or we don’t trust Him. The only way we can have salvation is through faith in Christ. It is a gift. A gift is different from a prize. Paul said in Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
I got a couple of gifts for Christmas and my birthday. I didn’t have to run a race to win them, I didn’t have to work for them. They were a gift. Paul received the gift of eternal life, now says he is running for a prize. Christ became everything to him, and he is running a race that he might win Christ. In what way? Someday he knew he would appear in His presence and that is his complete train of thought, when I come into His presence, I don’t want to be ashamed.
John said it like this in 1John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confi-dence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
How can we prevent the thought of being ashamed before Christ when the time comes? Abide in Him.
Paul says in verse 15 Philippians 3:Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be other-wise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Perfect here means mature...growth in Christ, learning to abide in Him. For those who think they have full knowledge and are fully mature in Christ. Apostle Paul was still running the race with anticipation of the future when he will grow and de-velop. If Apostle Paul was still running the race and growing till the end...what does that mean to you and I?
We have a lot of exercising to do to run the race. How do we exercise our faith? We try to please God in everything we do. In our job, in our home and family, running the race to please God and growing mature in Him.
What does it mean to be mature in Him? It means to grow in the understanding and the will that God has for our life.
Again, it has nothing to do with salvation but, it has everything to do with understanding how Jesus overcome sin and God's power through the Holy Spirit that lives within each of His children to overcome sin, trials, heartaches and to keep pressing on until the very end.
Those who think they are very mature in Christ are very vulnerable to sin and leave themselves as an open target for Satan.
I believe that's the reason Jesus calls us "little children because, most never get beyond a child's understanding of God.
My 2 year old grandson Kaiden is mature enough to ask for a cookie, knows to cry when he needs something. But, if he continues on doing the same when he turns 7 or 8 years old then, he hasn't grown in knowledge. He knows enough to sur-vive, he knows where his needs come from but, he doesn't understand why Mom doesn't want him to have cookies all the time. When he is more mature he will understand why and began to appreciate the love his Mom has for him.
Let's start this new year getting to know our Lord better by prayer, staying in His word and thanking Him for the eternal gift of the Holy Spirit that teaches, loves, guides us, wants only the best for us.
Brenda and I wish for you and your family health, happiness in 2012. Love in Christ Jesus