But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 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.
1. We have not arrived.
Growth is a lifelong process. Even while in prison Paul realizes that there is more about Christ that he does not yet understand or live out. He writes, “Not that I have obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal.”
Growth has to be an intentional part of our everyday lives.
2. Forgetting, Straining, Pressing. Paul’s system for continued growth.
Forgetting is more about focus than about erasing a memory. Paul chose to keep his eye on the goal and not on past accomplishments or entrapments.
We can use past accomplishments or failures to build upon but we should not stay and bask in them. Hebrews 12:1-2 ...And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Straining is where the growth is.
Straining causes us to grow and at the same time makes us vulnerable. There are always moments during the growth process that we are vulnerable. Attacks, failures, difficulties are all part of the process and to be expected. The problem arises when we develop a negative view of vulnerability.
Press on in the group. Vulnerability becomes an asset when it is viewed by the group as a necessity to growth.
Philippians 3:15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.