We are ending 2013 and moving into 2014. Some of us are still in the same place we started in when the year began. Year after year we face the same thing in the same rut or circle. You wonder what can I do different then what I have been doing.
As we end this year and go into next year maybe I can share a few godly principles during this next month that may help you have a change in your life.
So we want to talk about moving forward not backward. Now sometimes in your life you have to take a step back that’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking about a continual cycle of starting the year worst off then you were before spiritually, physically, financially and mentally.
As we look at Philippians 3 Paul encourages us and reminds the Church that he has shared this with them before.
Vs. 1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
Paul is writing that it is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Because I’m reminding you to be careful with whom you keep company with.
Vs. 2 (NLT) Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.
Colin Powell said these words “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.
Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.
Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the
bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.
With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”
The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.”
So Paul writes, Watch for the dogs; Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Then Paul says, Those people who do evil; New Living Translation Psalms 119:115 Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. Finally, he writes, over religious people out of your life; those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. The company you keep will either help you move forward or cause you to move backward.
Secondly, Paul tells the Church I’m reminding you to put know confidence in the flesh. He said in Vs.3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. In other words, we who serve God by his Spirit should boast in Christ Jesus. Verse 4 reads I although I could have confidence in the flesh. If anyone thinks he can place confidence in the flesh, I have more reason to think so.
- Vs. 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
- Vs. 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But then Paul makes a genuine argument in Vs.7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. He goes on to say in Vs.8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ Vs.9 I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. Vs. 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Paul is suggesting when you think more highly of yourself then you end up going backward then forward? Why? Lastly Paul is saying in essence I’m reminding you that you haven’t made it yet. Isn’t that wonderful! After all that he has done, even he realizes this simple truth. Look at Vs. 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 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.
What a great lesson when you have too much confidence in your flesh you will start thinking that you have already attained or were already perfect. You say Attain what? Vs. 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. The verb “attain” means to arrive at the end of a journey; it presents the figure of a pilgrimage. Even though I haven’t it made it yet at least I know what direction I’m headed. Some are reading this post right now and don’t know where to turn which direction to go.
Paul said in Vs. 12 but I follow after, But I keep pursuing it, I make every effort to take hold of it. The “it” is Christ. I’m looking to Christ. Why? He goes on to say in vs. 12 which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Another translation reads; because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Are you glad today that it’s not because you first loved him, But because Christ first loved you. Isn’t it wonderful to know that Christ is saying to you today “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone lets me in I will come in and fellowship with them”