Are you ready to fulfill the purpose God has for your life? Philippians 3 lays out 5 key steps to fulfilling His will and plan for your life, and walking in the good works He hath “before ordained” for you (Eph. 2:10). Don’t waste your life! Do these 5 things, starting today!
#1: Count all things as loss to win Christ.
In Philippians chapter 3, Paul, who wrote more books of the Bible than anybody else, laid out what his life was like before Christ. When it came to his upbringing, pedigree, education, morality, bloodline, and status (listed in Phil. 3:5-6), Paul naturally had it going on! He had things that many wholeheartedly pursue in this life, but Paul made a statement we need to learn from today (Phil. 3:7):
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Reread that. The things that were profitable, advantageous, or beneficial to him down here, Paul set it aside. He counted it as a loss. He gave it up. Why? FOR CHRIST! He then says (Phil. 3:8-10),
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
There is so much in that! But do you see Paul’s goals? Can you see where the priorities were? Do you notice His focus? If we’re going to fulfill God’s purpose, we first must resolve to lay aside ANYTHING – any sin, weight, distraction, opportunity, path, plan, agenda, relationship, connection, direction – that would take us from CHRIST. It all means nothing compared to winning Christ, knowing Christ, being found in Christ! That is where a purpose journey has to begin – going after Christ, deciding HE IS WORTH IT, no matter the cost.
#2: Follow after what He apprehended you for.
To apprehend someone is to take possession of, to take hold, of or lay hold on. It’s like an arrest, and that is exactly what happened to Paul in Acts 9. He was on his way to Damascus, zealously persecuting the church, but God apprehended him! Recognizing the fact that God came and got him, Paul made a decision that we must also make if we want to fulfill the purpose of God. He says in Philippians 3:12,
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Since Christ apprehended him for something, he resolved to “follow after” to “apprehend that for which” he was “apprehended of Christ Jesus.” To complete your assignment, you have to pursue getting, achieving, completing the thing He got you for! He did not accidentally save us and we did not start this with Him; with a plan in mind He rescued us from our path of destruction when we were headed toward hell. What’s our job now? Seek His WILL and go AFTER it!
“Follow after” is from a Greek verb diōkō, that is most commonly translated persecute. How tight is that? Paul, who used to aggressively, intentionally, passionately persecute the saints took that energy in a new direction to pursue the purpose of God! We have to RUN after what God has for us to do, like time is short, because it is.
#3: Forget those things which are behind.
Recognizing that He had not yet done everything God had in mind for his life, Paul makes the next two points we want to highlight in Philippians 3:13, saying,
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
To fulfill God’s purpose, we cannot remain stuck in the past. Ask Lot’s wife (Gen. 19:26; Luke 17:32) – we can’t keep looking back!
Forget is from a Greek word defined as, “to lose out of mind; by implication, to neglect.” Once we repent, God is no longer thinking about our past; why are we? We have to have confidence in God and believe the Word of the Lord, rather than our heart that tries to condemn us (1 John 3:20-21). Romans 8:1 says,
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Stay in Christ Jesus, walk after the Spirit, and stop focusing on yesterday. Whether the mistakes of our past or something else that distracts us from our present assignment, we have to bring it to God, allow Him to do the work, and then let it go, so we can move forward to what He has for us today.
#4: Reach forth unto those things which are before.
Once we forget those things which are are behind, we are in a perfect position to reach forth unto those things which are before. The Greek word “reaching forth unto” is translated from is defined as “to stretch (oneself) forward upon.”
To fulfill God’s purpose you have to stretch forward! It might be uncomfortable, but reach! It might be unfamiliar, but stretch! Fulfilling God’s purpose by following Him requires that, even without all the details, we go forward. Ephesians 2:10 says this:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
He created us unto good works He wants us to walk in! It was always His plan that we do the things He called us to do (that’s why He apprehended us, and works on us). Our job is to stop looking back, and put one foot in front of the other, to reach the destination He has in mind. Reach forth, take the step; His plan is perfect!
#5: Press toward the mark for the prize.
Finally, if we want to fulfill God’s purpose, we should learn from Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:14 (and follow his example). It reads:
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I press. “Press” is from the same word as “follow after” in v. 12, so it lets me know I should be running, pushing, pursuing TOWARD the mark. God’s goal should be my goal; His agenda, my agenda; His purpose, my purpose; His plan, my plan.
We must run, like a runner, with the prize in mind. Our focus is on the high calling, the upward calling from God. Later on in the chapter, Paul tells the church to follow him and then describes a group we don’t want to be like – the enemies of the cross of Christ. He says of them and then of us in Phil. 3:18-21,
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
We are looking for the Saviour, the one we’ve lived, served, sacrificed, and worked for. If He is our priority, we can fulfill His purpose, and rightly use the time He’s given us for His perfect will.
What did you learn from Philippians chapter 3? What stands out to you? Share your comments below!
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There is SO MUCH in this book to the saints – the gospel, priorities, ministry, prayer, humility, suffering, contentment – that can help us live for Christ RIGHT NOW! Let’s dig in!