Growing in faith by knowing Christ more
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. Philippians 3:14-17
Paul, urges all the followers of Christ to join him in vigorously running. He made this appeal; “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” Paul was providing a contrast on what others in Philippi are claiming. Some in the church of Philippi may have thought they had already attained perfection, but the mature believers there knew better (v. 15). Paul intended to leave to the Lord those who were mistaken about their progress in spiritual things. The apostle knew the Lord had straightened him out on many issues and could be counted on to do the same with the perfectionists in Philippi. He exhorted Christians to constantly examine their lives and identify periods of progress they had made in spiritual things. When they found times of spiritual attainment, they were to recall that victorious moment and what came about during such experience. In essence, he urged them to analyze how such spiritual attainment came about and apply that same spirit now. Whatever real Christian and moral progress you may have made let that serve as a stepping stone for your further advance. What Paul is saying in these passages is more than remarkable. Think about Paul for a moment. He had walked with God for several years. He had enjoyed great spiritual experiences. He knew God so well that he could write glorious spiritual truths that have overcome and daunted the best theological minds of the centuries. He is not afraid to die and could stare death in the face without flinching. And yet he says he was still straining to know the Lord Jesus better. His deepest passion is to know Christ more. “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). If the apostle, with all that he had attained, felt this need, how much more should we?