“But all these things that I once thought very worthwhile—now I’ve thrown them all away so that I can put my trust and hope in Christ alone. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, and become one with him, no longer counting on being saved by being good enough or by obeying God’s laws, but by trusting Christ to save me; for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith—counting on Christ alone. Now I have given up everything else—I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with him. So whatever it takes, I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead.
“I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be.
“No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.
“I hope all of you who are mature Christians will see eye-to-eye with me on these things, and if you disagree on some point, I believe that God will make it plain to you— if you fully obey the truth you have.
“Dear brothers, pattern your lives after mine, and notice who else lives up to my example.” (Philippians 3:7-17 TLB)
In my last blog post I quoted from Lesson 2 of the Brokenness to Beauty Bible Study Guide that I have been working on for over a year (yet to be published). I wrote:
“We learn about God and his ways by reading Scripture day after day, year after year, relying on God’s Spirit to teach us spiritual truths, as 1 Corinthians 2:10–13 states.
When our reading of and obedience to Scripture is combined with teaching by God’s Spirit, we are strengthened to endure and to persevere through the difficulties of life, whether our difficulties be small or great.”
The lesson continues:
“5. Read again Philippians 3:7–16 (I’ve quoted it above, plus v. 17). From the Word of God we learn how to live according to God’s ways. We should strive to come to the point where we can personalize Paul’s commitment to the Lord, making the goals he made for his life our own.”
In the lesson I then ask the student to list the commitments one makes when they read and personalize what Paul wrote in the Philippians passage, quoted above. When you read the passage, what commitments do you list from Philippians 3:7-16?
Briefly, I can name:
1) let go of everything in this life that is important to me (it’s all temporary) to gain something greater (that lasts forever);
2) which is to know Jesus Christ, to follow him with all my heart and being;
3) to gain, by faith in him, his imputed righteousness and give up holding onto my own useless righteousness;
4) follow hard after Jesus by obedience to God’s Word, seeking what will last for eternity, not a few years of life;
5) and live for God’s plans, not my own, reaching forward to receive the prize for which God called me in Christ Jesus.
In Philippians 3:17 Paul admonishes us to follow him as he follows Christ. Am I doing that? Are you doing that? Can those who observe our lives safely follow us as we follow Christ?
Paul’s life goals challenge me, and you, to examine and choose what kind of people we are becoming. It reminds us to ask ourselves, “By my life, what am I leaving for others to follow? What will benefit others forever?”
Am I leaving a legacy that will eternally benefit my children, grandchildren, and others who observe, and are influenced by, my life?
What is my legacy? What is your legacy?
The answer to that depends on what we do with what we see when we look into the mirror of God’s Word.
Recall James 1:22-25 and Bill’s post, “The Man in the Mirror,” reblogged in my last posting. Am I, are you, putting what we hear of the Word of God into practice? Are we beginning to look more like Jesus? Are we living for God’s plans?
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,
with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another … “ (Colossians 3:16 NASB)