As a new year starts, many people think through some resolutions, some goals – a mark to press toward in a new year. Unfortunately, many of those resolutions fizzle quickly in the new year. Consider:
- the Bible reading goal that struggles once Leviticus comes
- that gym membership that begins to not seem so important
- that weight loss goal that has met its match at Krispy Kreme!
And the list could continue…Resolutions are great, but the motivations behind those resolutions are the sparks that provide the energy to keep going. In Philippians 3, Paul gives us some insight that is applicable as we begin a new year.
He begins with a RIGHT FOCUS
In this chapter, Paul delineates all that he has going for him…it’s an impressive pedigree. But at the end of it all, he concludes, “I have no confidence in my flesh…All these achievements are counted as dung…”
What would cause Paul to view all of these things that he had worked so hard to accomplish as nothing? His focus had changed. He lived so that “I may know Him…” A single focus is a powerful key to help us succeed in a new year. It is the “this ONE thing I do…”
He continues with a RIGHT FELLOWSHIP
In verse 10, Paul not only says he wants to know Christ, he also says he wants to know the “fellowship of His sufferings.” I know many Christians who are content to pray, “…That I may know Him…” Few are the ones who pray, “…and the fellowship of His sufferings.”
Yet, Paul recognized that a faith journey that moves forward produces friction, discomfort, difficulties, hardships. In a word, Paul was ready to suffer not only for His Lord, but with His Lord. He viewed it as a “fellowship” – a commonality between Christ and himself. Paul’s “fellowship” wasn’t simply around the “Baptist Buffet” and all the casseroles of the day! His fellowship involved an intimate knowledge of the One who had suffered for him.
He concludes with a RIGHT FINISH
Paul was not living in the past. He had “forgotten those things which were behind.” Instead, Paul was living in the present with his eyes on the future. He was pressing – exerting every bit of energy he could – to hit his target, the mark that involved a prize. Paul envisioned the day he would finish his race and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
As you read through Philippians 3, there’s some great application for us all to find the right kind of success in 2019. Check your focus, choose your fellowship, and commit to finish.
Happy New Year!