Owning the Future: Phil 3:12-13

Philippians chapter 3

Context: Paul talks about wanting to know Christ and the power of his resurrection by sharing in Christ’s sufferings.

Key text: Phil 3:12-13 – “Not that I have already obtained this or already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

  • Prior to this section Paul seems to have a mixture of loss, regret and guilt when it comes to his past: he persecuted Christians, but was also “blameless” according to law and tradition. He was righteous and with that probably came a level of status. He lost all that when he started following Christ.
  • Here Paul puts it all behind him and presses forward.
  • There is always a goal in mind for Paul
  • I wonder how much time we spend looking backward, either as individuals, as churches, or even as businesses, sports teams, any organization. How much time do we spend looking back with either longing or regret?
  • How often are we focussed on the goal and what lies ahead? Are we hopeful?
  • Paul also talks about making “it” his own. The “it” is the knowledge o Christ and the power of his resurrection. Paul uses ownership language. He sees it as a goal to own it, to accept it, to live it out, to make it real in his life. He hasn’t yet got it, but he’s trying to live it. He’s pressing on to live in the power of the resurrection. What does that mean?
  • Maybe it means he is assured of the final setting right of all things in Christ, but he’s trying to also live that out right now – he hasn’t quite got there, and may never until Christ returns and ultimately puts things right by his power, but Paul presses on to own it for himself – to live as though all evil has been defeated, to live completely changed by Christ.
  • He looks forward with hope, and tries to live based on what he knows is coming in the future.
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