Let’s Win the Race (Philippians 3:12–16)

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phil 3.13-14Most people read biographies to satisfy their curiosity about great people, hoping they will discover the “secret” that made them great. In Philippians 3, Paul is giving us his spiritual biography: his past (vv. 1–11), his present (vv. 12–16), and his future (vv. 17–21). We have already met Paul “the accountant” who discovered new values when he met Jesus Christ (Learning How to Count). In this section, we meet Paul “the athlete” with his spiritual vigor, pressing toward the finish line in the Christian race. In each of these experiences, Paul is exercising thespiritual mind; he is looking at things on earth from God’s point of view. As a result, he is not upset by things behind him, around him, or before him—things do not rob him of his joy!

The Greek verb “straining toward” in 3:13 literally means “stretching as in a race.” Theologians are not agreed as to the exact sport Paul is describing, whether the footrace or the chariot race. Either one will do, but my own preference is the chariot race. The Greek chariot, used in the Olympic Games and other events, was really a small platform with a wheel on each side. The driver had very little to hold on to as he raced around the course. He had to lean forward and strain every nerve and muscle to maintain balance and control the horses.

As children of God, we have the responsibility of “running the race” and achieving the goals God has set for us: “Work out your salvation … for it is God who works in you” (The Ins and Outs of Christian Living, Phil. 2:12–13). Each believer is on the track, each has a special lane in which to run, and each has a goal to achieve. If we reach the goal the way God has planned, then we receive a reward. If we fail, we lose the reward, but we do not lose our citizenship in heaven. (Read 1 Cor. 3:11–15 for the same idea, only using architecture as the symbol.)

All of us want to be “winning Christians” and fulfill the purposes for which we have been saved. In this passage, there are five essentials for winning the race and one day receiving the reward that is promised.

Continue at: http://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/lets-win-the-race-philippians-312-16/

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