4 Things to Run the Race of FaithOctober 21, 2019
The Apostle Paul loved Jesus, and he made it his goal in life to know Jesus more and to experience great fellowship with Him (see Philippians 3:7-11).
He said it this way:
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:13-14).
Paul set his eyes on the prize, Jesus. He wanted to press on in his faith, and he encouraged his friends, the Philippians, to do the same. To press on means to run, to follow after, to push and push.
As we look at our lives, how do we press on in our faith? How do we run the race that God has marked out for us? We run the race by doing 4 things.
1. Recognize our Imperfections
None of us will be perfect. None of us will have “arrived.” When Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians, he had been a Christian for 30 years, but Paul knew there was still so much for him to learn about Jesus. There was also much more to learn about himself. The more Paul learned about himself, the more he realized his sin (1 Timothy 1:15). As Paul realized his sin, he saw even more how Jesus loved him and forgave him of his sins.
As Christians, we must daily repent of our sins and cling to Jesus. We must always have the humble mindset that we have not arrived, and we are far from being perfect.
Paul said it this way: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own (Philippians 3:12)."
2. Actively Forget our Past
Paul says to “forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13).” To forget means to neglect, overlook, to care nothing about.
When it comes to our past, there are two dangers: we either beat ourselves up or we build ourselves up. We beat ourselves up when we relive every wrong thing we have done. Some of us have never forgiven ourselves for what we have done, and we allow our past mistakes to define us. I have great news: your past doesn’t have to determine your future.
Yes, there are consequences for past sins, but Jesus forgives us. To actively forget the past means that we repent of our sins, turn to Jesus, and move forward in faith. Please don’t allow your past to define who you are today.
The other danger in looking at our past is that we build ourselves up. We may think, “The older I am the better I was.” Some of us have a hard time not living in “the glory days”. Some of us have allowed our past successes to give us reason to coast the rest of our lives. We must remember that our past performance doesn’t guarantee our future success.
3. Concentrate on Jesus
Did you notice that Paul said, “But one thing I do.” Paul’s 1 thing was Jesus. Jesus was the main thing on Paul’s mind and on his heart. Paul made a continuous effort to pursue Jesus.
We often forget that Jesus is God. God is infinite, and because He is infinite there is always more of Him to be had. Imagine yourself going to a beautiful beach with a clear ocean. You put your feet in the water and look down and see beauty. As you look back up, you are enamored with the vast ocean the stretches on for miles and miles and realize, “I’m simply scratching the surface of exploring this beautiful ocean.” This is what it was like for Paul when it came to knowing Jesus. He felt that he was simply scratching the surface.
To press on in our faith, we must concentrate on Jesus and not get caught up in the ways of this world.
4. Encircle Like-Minded Christians
In Philippians 3:17, Paul says, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”
When Paul tells them to “imitate me,” he is not bragging. He is telling them, “Imitate me as I follow Jesus. The moment I stop following Jesus will be the moment you stop imitating me. The same goes for your friends. Surround yourself with like-minded believers who are actively following Jesus so that you can imitate them.”
It’s important for us to be around people who love Jesus and want what is best for us. To press on in our faith, we must be surrounded by people who love Jesus. When we are not around other authentic Christians, it makes our journey much more difficult.
So, how do we press on in our faith? We do 4 things:
Recognize our Imperfections
Actively Forget our Past
Concentrate on Jesus
Encircle Like-Minded Christians
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Listen to the sermon "Press On"
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