Who loves sports? That’s what Paul loved. Paul made many sport references in his writings. (Boxing, wrestling, a relay race, Olympic Games). Today the text is likened to a footrace.

Philippians 3:12-16: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Four thoughts from this passage on how we can grow spiritually:

1. First, we must be aware of the need for spiritual growth in our lives. (vs.12)

VS 12- Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

  • Paul was not spiritually perfect just like you and me.

1 John 1:8- If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

  • If we see ourselves as perfect, we will never see the need for spiritual growth in our lives.

 

2. Secondly, we need to do our part in making sure we spiritually grow. (vs.12)

VS 12- Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

  • If you are not spiritually growing it’s your fault, not Gods.
  • VS 12- “I follow after”- Giving everything he has to win the race! All-out effort.
  • Are we doing our part to spiritually grow?
  • Disciplines of the Godly life:
    • Bible reading
    • Prayer
    • Church attendance

2nd Peter 3:18a- But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

  • God expects spiritual growth in our lives.

Hebrews 6:1a- Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;

 

3. Thirdly, we need to understand what the ultimate goal of spiritual growth is. (vs.14)

VS 14- I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

  • Pressing forward or following after, verse 14.
  • Ultimate goal= Christlikeness

1st John 3:2- Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Romans 8:29- For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

  • Do people look at you and see Christ?

 

4. Lastly, in order to become like Christ we must put the past in the past. (vs.13b)

VS 13b- but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

  • We can’t let what has happened in the past effect the future.
  • We can’t dwell on our past failures as well as our past successes.
  • Satan wants to remind us of our past to keep us from moving forward in our spiritual growth.
  • Paul is telling us to not live in the past.

VS 15- Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

  • The word perfect means positional perfection (Salvation).
  • Are you growing in Christ? We will have failures and won’t be perfect. Commit yourself to growing in Christ today.

Do you know Christ as your Savior?  Do you know for sure you are going to heaven when you die?  You can know for sure you are going to heaven and that your sins are forgiven!

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