#197 – I PRESS ON, I TAKE HOLD (22/9/20)
Do you have a memorable moment when you worked really hard for something? Why were you motived to put in such an effort?
I’d like to say that when we understand that something is of true value, we value and work for it in proportion to its worth. However, we all know that in health, learning, relationships, and, yes, even knowing Jesus, we often prioritise a cat or baby dancing video or the equivalent! We allow multiple distractions to be our majority focus and what we truly value to receive minimal attention. This kind of attention deficit was clearly at work in the Philippians, and this is why Paul encourages them,
‘Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:12-14)
Let’s seek biblical answers as to how we can value what we value. Here are three ideas:
We all need to create good habits of Bible intake, prayer and worship. With faith and effort, the disciplines of spiritual growth will become as regular as brushing our teeth. If you are struggling in this area, God teaches us that there is massive power in sharing our struggles and our goals with a friend. Paul is open about his deficit: ’I have not obtained all this…’ He shares his goals/intentions: ‘But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…’
If you will find a friend with whom to share your struggles and intentions, this will empower you in any form of transformation.
ii) Faith in the truth
Faith for growth is vital. Faith in God’s promises ‘moves mountains’! The truth is, God is at work in us and we need to believe and cooperate with Him. If we are not working hard to grow in knowing Jesus, it’s because we are believing a lie. For example:
Maybe you are believing that God will do His work without any response or obedience on your part?
Maybe you are believing that God will not provide the power you need as you seek to change?
Maybe you are believing that other idols - things that give joy, security, status… are more enjoyable than knowing Jesus?
There is power in confessing the truth and, when you recognise it in yourself, confessing the lies that you have believed.
iii) Ask for help
Linked to the previous point, ask the Father to help you to grow and to give you wisdom, resources, people… to help you; ask the Father to fill you with His Spirit so as to enable you to be energised and self-controlled so as to do the things necessary for knowing Jesus. Those who ask receive!
You have been taken hold of by God in order to know Him. Let’s make every effort to pursue the goal of knowing Jesus. Let’s make this effort by faith in His empowering presence.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - KNOWING LEADS TO LIKENESS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you ever ‘idolised’ someone, a group, a team…? Why were you drawn to these people and how did it affect your life?
Introduction - please share in your group
Our message on Sunday was an encouragement to ‘take hold of that for which you’ve been taken hold of’.
We can do many things and miss what’s of true value. For example, one can go for a beautiful walk only to be so caught up with our thinking or our phone, that we miss the beauty of the place - fail to ‘take hold’ of what is of true worth.
Likewise, as Christians, are called to pursue knowing Jesus, yet we can fail to ‘take hold of that for which you’ve been taken hold of’ as we should. Paul writes,
‘Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.’ (Philippians 3:12)
Discuss in your group
(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)
1. What is Paul’s goal? (3:7-8)
2. How does one ‘take hold’ of the goal of knowing Jesus?
3. How does knowing that Jesus has taken hold of us (saved us) and is working in us to complete this work motivate us rather than make us passive?
4. Knowing Jesus, principally, comes from meditating on God’s word. What scriptures have you read recently that has helped you to know God in a deeper way?
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
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