Philippians

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Philippians Week 7- Philippians 3:12-21
Day 31
Philippians 3:12-14
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 

Context/Application
Something that stands out in these verses: “I focus on this one thing…” 

Paul has such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to give us, so when he says “I focus on this one thing…” we need to pay attention to what comes next: “...Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” 

When we read Paul’s story, he has a very loaded past (Acts 7:58-59, Acts 22:19-20). However he chooses to fix his eyes forward- “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.” This refers to living our purpose by focusing on our destination… Heaven. Let your destination determine your direction.

Questions: 

Where is your focus? 
Is it on the past?
    If so: What can you do to shift your focus to what lies ahead this week? 
 Or on what lies ahead? 
If so: Is your focus on what the world can give you? Or on the heavenly prize that God is calling us to? 
Need help finding freedom from your past? Learn more about PTO here.


Day 32
Philippians 3:15
Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 

Context/Application: 
Paul believes that those who are spiritually mature will agree with him: eternal things are most important. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) He adds, that if you disagree with this that God will eventually show you. In the journey of every believer, as we seek to know God better we learn more and more about who He is, and what he desires for our lives. 

This is reflected in what Paul is writing here. He doesn’t rebuke others for not agreeing with him, he simply states that in time, God will show them what is most important. This should be an encouragement for all of us, as we grow more and more Christ-like that God will continue to show us more and more about himself. 

Questions:

Do you believe that eternal things are most important? 
What have you learned about God as you’ve grown closer to Him? 


Day 33
Philippians 3:16
But we must hold on to the progress we have already made

Context/Application
We’re all in different places in our spiritual journeys. Some of us are brand-new to this whole faith thing, some of us have been believers for decades, and everything in between! 

No matter where we are in our individual journey it’s important to keep moving forward. Like Paul said in 3:14 above “I press on to reach the end of the race.” 

No matter where we are in our journey, it doesn’t serve us to become lackadaisical. More important than how far you are on your journey is your direction. Are you going the right way. Are you moving toward Jesus? You can’t live your purpose if your spiritual life is sitting stagnant. And purpose is the pathway to Joy. 

Question:
Are you “pressing on to reach the end of the race?” or do you feel stagnant?
No matter where you are in your journey, what can you do this week to “press on?”

Day 34
Philippians 3:17
Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 

Context/Application
Paul is an excellent example to pattern our lives after. 

He’s humble: We seen throughout Philippians where he has never complained about being in prison, or assumed to be “above” any of the hardships he’s going through. 

He understands his need to be dependent on God:
Paul understands his own strengths and weaknesses. He knows that it’s only by the grace of God that he found freedom from his past life (1 Corinthians 15:10)

He’s confident: He’s absolutely confident in his salvation. (Philippians 3:7-11)

He lived his life with purpose:  Paul lived out his purpose. And it brought him Joy. Over and over again in this letter to the Philippians Paul has expressed joy, even in suffering. Not because he enjoyed suffering, but because he was living his purpose. 

Questions:
From what you have learned so far about Paul, what do you admire about him? 
What can you do today to be more like Paul (specifically, the attribute that you admire).
Are there people in your life who can help you go the right direction in your spiritual journey? (Spiritual Mentors) Who?

Day 35
Philippians 3:18-21
For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 
They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 

He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power which he will bring everything under his control. 

Context/Application
We see a significant contrast here- 
Those who are “headed for destruction” and “citizens of heaven”. 

We seek to live out of our identity as citizens of heaven. That’s tied directly to our destination. But when we go the wrong direction, we head toward destruction. This doesn’t mean hell, but rather a loss of joy and well-being in this life. 

Paul seeks to once again give the Philippian believers confidence that they are citizens of heaven. That they are not “those headed for destruction” and that they can find joy in living their purpose.

Questions:
What perspective does it give you knowing that you have a future in eternity with your savior? 
Are there things in your life that you need to step away from? 
    “Their god is their appetite”- are there things that you’re seeking that you shouldn’t be?
    “They brag about shameful things” - do you take pride in things you shouldn’t?
    “They think only about this life here on earth”- are you only living for what’s immediate?
 

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