Years ago, Larry Norman sang a song with these lyrics. Walking backwards down the stairs, trying to get higher. In Philippians 3, we are told to focus on the progress we have already made. Just looking in the right direction doesn’t do it. We must progressively move in that direction.
But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Philippians 3:16
In this chapter, Paul was reminiscing about the days before he met Jesus. He was fully devoted to the traditions of his upbringing. He was willing to stop anyone or anything that tried to hinder his religious stance.
I was a real Hebrew if there ever was one. A member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. Philippians 3:5-6
The Apostle Needed To Refocus
After his newfound faith in Christ, he quickly realized an important fact. His religious journey was leading him in the wrong direction.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:7-8
We may not be involved in strict Judaism, but what about many of our church traditions? In some churches, I’ve seen wooden furniture reverenced more than people. Others are prone to add requirements for a person’s salvation.
They are just a couple of examples of legalism which simply means this. Adding to God’s Word for the requirements and maintenance of our salvation. Look at what Paul said.
For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. Philippians 3:8-9
In one sentence, the apostle sidestepped every tradition we try to hold on to which makes us feel “religious.” In other words, we aren’t looking to our’s or someone else’s traditions. We are focused on our faith placed in our Savior Jesus Christ.
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. Philippians 3:9
Two Requirements to Focus on Your Progress
He continued this thought by using two very important words. The first is “to know” Jesus. The second involves “experiencing’ Him. Both of these go beyond reading or hearing about Him. They mean we must establish a personal relationship with Him.
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. Philippians 3:10
Paul made it clear that he had by no means achieved these things or reached perfection.
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, Philippians 3:13
This brings us to our verse for today to continue to press forward. Don’t let the enemy or anyone else cause you to lose ground in your walk with the Lord.
One of the main culprits that can often cause a spiritual setback is our self. We can, however, focus on our progress when we lean not on our own understanding. Remember, religion isn’t our goal, righteousness is.
Read this related post that will help you stay focused. Enjoying The Benefits Of Living A Godly Life.
Let me close with a side note. Many traditions and church policies or disciplines are written to help us in our Christian walk. If in your spirit you have an issue with any in your church, talk to your church leaders about it.
Lord, help us to stay true to you by pressing forward in our walk with you. With your help, we can stay focused on forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Check out these related blogs on “Focus”.
Philippians 3 is a very interesting read.
To receive each new devotional post delivered to your inbox, subscribe below by giving us your first name and email address.