Focal passage: Philippians 3:12-21
The spiritual giant, Paul, acknowledges that even he had not perfected following Christ. He realized that it is a process as we move toward the goal of a full understanding of obedience to Christ.
He points out that there always has been and there always will be, those who make different choices. It is up to each individual believer and to the church to keep our focus on our “citizenship in heaven” (v. 20).
We can find joy in the growth process. A child most likely gets discouraged when he struggles to ride a bike or tie his shoes, and as parents we respond. We don’t sit back and just tell our child to give up! Instead, we encourage them to keep trying and to maybe look for new ways to accomplish the task.
Paul is encouraging us. We can know that day-by-day, as we “press on” (v. 12), we can do it with joy.
One way to take joy in this journey is to follow the example of mature believers. There is a couple in my church who recently celebrated 60 years of marriage and ministry as together. They have served side by side from the time of seminary, in churches and now in numerous roles in our church.
They each have joy in their eyes and voices as they share about their Savior. They tell funny stories about living on practically nothing during the seminary years and stories of warmth as they share about the latest grandchild who they are influencing for the cause of Christ.
The wife shares the gospel with those God places in her path at the grocery store and the doctor’s office. The husband ministers weekly to the senior adult choir.
If you compliment them for their service, they very quickly direct the praise and glory to God. It is beautiful and inspiring!
They will also let you know they “eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (vv. 20-21).
They demonstrate growing with joy!