Dear Praying Friends,
Rachel and I appreciate your desire to pray with us each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. God is listening to these prayers and He is using each of our lives to accomplish His purposes.
Our lives have a huge impact on others, whether positive or negative—especially those who are inside our close circles at home, church, and work. Paul makes a bold statement in Philippians, “Brothers, join in imitating me and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil 3:17). Wow! Could I say this? Do I have a lifestyle that would enable me to say this? Do I even have the courage to say this? This is not pride, nor it is perfection, it is simply living in such a way that others will be drawn to Jesus.
We could go through the whole book of Philippians and look at Paul’s example, but for now, let’s consider a few good imitable traits in this immediate chapter.
In the first few verses, he is a model in confidence. He puts his confidence in Christ and not in human activity. He warns us to be on the lookout for those who obsess with law keeping rather than putting full trust in Christ because we are those who place “no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). While we have trusted Christ for the removal of our sins, it is easy to rely on our efforts to bring about spiritual growth rather than full reliance on Christ.
As he talks about his past achievements and their total uselessness in gaining true spirituality, he provides an excellent example of what we should value. As far as the Jewish mind was concerned, Paul is at the top, yet his concluding statement is that this is all loss for the sake of Christ. He places no value in his past pedigree and achievements but rather in gaining Christ and being found righteous in Him. The pinnacle reality of his Christian life is revealed in verse ten: “That I may know Him.” His values lead him to into an intimate, experiential relationship with his Savior. Whether it is living in resurrection power or sharing in suffering, he wants to be brought closer to Christ.
His relationship with Christ is not static or stagnant. Twice over in this section, he talks about “pressing on.” His goals are worth emulating. In verse twelve he is pressing on to fulfill the purpose for which Christ first made him His own. Then he says, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil 3:14 NLT). Pressing on requires us to focus on Christ. Don’t focus on past failures or successes. Either can hinder us from obtaining the prize.
As we seek to follow the good (but not perfect) example of Paul in our confidence, our values, and our goals, may we be able to say those around us, “Join in imitating me.”
We are so blessed. Thanks again.
Bryan and Rachel