Read: Philippians 3:9-21
Yesterday we did some Genetic reflections and thought about our Spiritual Heritage. We looked back.
This morning, I'd like us to look ahead.
The Apostle Paul not only had a tremendous Spiritual Heritage- he had a well defined Spiritual Hope.
He knew where he came from, and he knew who he was.
In spite of himself, he knew without a doubt, where he was going and how to get there.
Sometimes after we've taken time for self-evaluation we become so focused on the results of that soul- searching that we become immobilized.
We can't move.
We see all our wrong turns and become stopped in our tracks, unable to go forward- in any direction.
When we have dealt with the sin in our lives, we need to do what Paul did- what he exhorted us to do in verse 17- "pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example."
What did Paul do, directly after reflecting on his Spiritual Heritage? What is his example?
He said, "I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be... I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." (Vs. 12-14)
Paul gives us hope.
He reminds us that no matter what our Spiritual Heritage is, we must become focused on our Spiritual Hope.
We must move on from self- reflection and look ahead to the end of the race.
Take some time to think about your Spiritual Hope, recognizing that your spiritual hope will play a large part in making you who you will be tomorrow.
Thank God for his promises.
He promised to never leave you or forsake you- to not leave you parent-less, like an orphan.
He promised to be your Father and look after all your needs.
He promised to give you the Holy Spirit, who comforts, teaches, supports and gives you gifts and grows fruit in you.
Thank him for the fruit of the Holy Spirit- for love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Ask him for more of his Spirit so he can grow more of his fruit in your life.
Thank him for his mercy and his grace.
Thank him that you don't have to count on your own goodness or your ability to obey God's law to be right with him.
Thank him that you can trust Jesus to save you.
Ask God for more faith to trust Jesus more.
Thank him that he doesn't expect you to be perfect- that he loves you as you are.
Ask him for grace to stay focused on the prize.
Ask him for the grace to leave the past behind, learning from it, but not being dragged down by it.
Thank him for his forgiveness which is perfect, like him, and which doesn't remember your wrongs or hold them against you.
Ask for his grace to forgive yourself and others the way he forgives you.
Thank him for loving you this much.