FOCUSED FELLOWS (Olympic Lessons 9) Philippians 3:7-14
“Running is a way God can use me for His glory. Athletics is not my life. Christ is. I’m a Christian first and then an athlete. I try to do everything for God’s glory, including running. A person must never become the focus of attention. If people look closely at me, they’ll discover I have many faults. It’s important to look at the Lord and build our lives around Him.” Elana Meyer, distance runner, Olympic Silver medalist in 10,000m at age 25. She had the right idea. Her priorities were right on target.
Paul says the same thing in Philippians 3:7-14 (take a moment to read this passage). Again, Paul uses an athletic analogy to describe the Christian life. The goal of all of Christians is to be Christlike. As we move through our Christian life, following the course God has laid out for us, we will face obstacles and temptations but we need to keep our eyes on the goal and move ahead with patient perseverance. If we do, one day we will wear the victor’s crown.
The key to running a good race in the Christian life is to stay focused on Jesus. Living for Him is more important than anything we could gain focusing on ourselves. “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7). In fact, Paul says “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him (Philippians 3:8-9).
Paul gladly gave up everything to follow Jesus: friends, family, position, heritage, inheritance and power. He was one of the bright rising stars in Judaism with a secure, important future ahead of him when he turned his back on it to serve Jesus. He doesn’t regret it one bit. Being “found in Him” is more important than anything. Living for Jesus was his life.
When he met Jesus, Paul realized his own self-righteousness was worthless (Philippians 3:9). His goals in life had completely changed. Now all he wanted was Jesus. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
He didn’t just want to know about Jesus, mere facts in his head. Instead, he wanted to personally and intimately know Him as his Lord and savior. He not only wanted to experience His resurrection, life-giving power, he was also willing to suffer as Jesus did. Paul suffered much ridicule, rejection, persecution, pain and even martyrdom because of his commitment to Jesus. Paul was willing to give up his own agenda, his comfort, his daily life and eventually even his physical life to follow Jesus. No price was too high. Nothing he could do even came close to what he owed Jesus for his salvation and eternal life (Philippians 3:11a).
This passage is a life-long favorite of mine. Many years ago, I made it a goal of my life to know Jesus better – really know Him. I know a lot of theology about Him but I want my personal relationship with Him to grow. If that isn’t your life goal then it should be.
Are you growing spiritually year after year? I that your main goal (Hebrews 6:1)? Think back to where you were spiritually a year ago? What about 10 years? Or 20? Thank God for the growth that has taken place in you during that time and thank Him for His promise to keep you growing (Philippians 1:6).
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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