The Focused Life

The Focused Life
January 16, 2022
Speaker:
Passage: Philippians 3:10-16
Service Type:

Let us not be focused on things that are outside of our control. We need to live a focused life, which we will study this morning.

  • Philippians 3:10-16

There is an old fable told about a tiger. He started out, tracking the scent of a deer. As he followed the deer, he came across the scent of a rabbit. He turned aside and started after the rabbit. Then he was distracted by the scent of a mouse and started following that. He finally came to the hole into which the mouse had vanished. He ended the day hungrier than when he had started the day. This fable illustrates how many people spend their lives distracted with this or that, and at the end of the day – they have accomplished little.

Paul here, in Philippians 3:10-16 gives us a focus for our life – a spiritual focus.

  • Philippians 3:13-14

Paul said “this one thing I do...” not, a hundred things I start or a dozen things I attempt, all these things I start to do, – but “one thing I do.” Paul says he is putting all his energy into this one thing – “pressing toward the mark.

I struggle with this concept – I get involved, at times, in too many projects and end up doing less than my best with many of them. Literally, I have too many irons in the fire. That's a good figure of speech, I've come to understand as I've been working some as a blacksmith.

There is an old German proverb, “He who begins too much accomplishes little.” Often, we have started many projects but never finish them. When we do this with spiritual things, we have a problem.

Perhaps you, too, have trouble living a focused life. Paul helps us to remember that we are to focus, "this one thing I do." Paul, reminds us we need to have this kind of focus.

Focused on a Person

  • Philippians 3:8-10

Paul is calling for a desire for a personal experience. Knowing Christ involves more than just knowing about Him. It includes developing a relationship with Him. Paul already enjoyed a special relationship with Christ, he was called to be an apostle. But, he still longed for deeper and richer knowledge.

Focused on Knowing Christ in this Life

Paul wanted to know everything about Jesus. He wanted to know “the power of His resurrection.“ Paul wants to know the power or strength available to the Christian through the resurrection of the Lord.

  • Galatians 2:20
  • Philippians 4:13

He could do all things spiritually speaking, not of his own strength, but through Christ. But at the same time, he felt the need for a constant renewal of that strength and power.

Also, for Paul it was a painful experience, he wanted to know “the fellowship of his suffering.“ Fellowship is sharing or joint participation. Paul felt no one could know Christ fully unless he shared in His suffering. We'll never experience the suffering of Christ to the degree that he suffered.

  • Galatians 6:17
  • 2 Corinthians 4:10-11

Through suffering for the cause of Christ, Paul came to understand more clearly what the Lord had suffered for him. When we face the difficulties of life... some may mistreat you, you might be beaten, you may suffer physically, but we need to understand that Christ suffered more. The thief on the cross recognized that they were suffering for what they did, but that He didn't deserve to suffer. When we suffer for the name of Christ it reminds us that He suffered more.

Paul concluded his thought with the words, “conformable unto his death.” With the help of the Lord, Paul was dying to himself.

  • Galatians 2:20

Paul’s desire to know Christ more fully had at least four facets:

  1. A personal experience: “that I may know Him
  2. A powerful experience: “and the power of His resurrection
  3. A painful experience: “and the fellowship of His suffering
  4. A practical experience: “being conformable unto His death

The beginning of our quest to know Christ is seen in Romans 6.

Notice the emphasis on Christ’s suffering and resurrection and our need to be conformable unto His death. Jesus died for sin. He suffered, died, was buried and on the third day rose again. As He died, we die to sin, as He was buried, we're buried in a watery grave, as He rose again, we raise from the water to a new life in Him.

Paul looked forward to knowing Christ in the next life. This is evidently what Paul had in mind.

  • John 5:28-29

Paul looked forward to the time when he could know Christ fully. We cannot know Him fully and completely until we spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Paul wanted to make that journey, and have that experience.

Focused on a Prize

We need to have our focus on that prize.

  • Philippians 3:12-14

He Focused on His Life in the Present

He was focused on the prize, that high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

He was focused on where he was at the time. He was focused on what he needed, he needed humility.

“Not as though I had already attained…” (v. 12a) – Paul had not yet obtained the full knowledge of Christ – which would come at the resurrection. “…either were already perfect” (v. 12b) – Paul knew that he was not all he could be or should be. Paul was a great preacher but knew that he wasn't everything he could be. He had to remain humble.

If Paul claimed he had room to grow – what about us?

The Bible challenge is for us to grow.

  • Ephesians 4:15
  • 2 Peter 3:18

He Focused on Things Regarding the Past and Forgiveness was Needed

How did Paul cope with not being all that he could be? “forgetting those things which are behind” (v. 13)

What did Paul forget?

He forgot his past successes – as was seen earlier in this chapter. We cannot rely on our past laurels We must continue to prove ourselves.

Paul also forgot past failures.

He admitted he was not “perfect” and he had not “laid hold.” Paul did not spend his time regretting. He had blasphemed the church, arrested, and had Christians put to death. He repented and moved forward. Many allow the past to destroy their present and future.

If God forgets those things that are behind, why do we keep bringing them up? We need to recognize those things are forgiven, and move past them.

  • Hebrews 8:12

When He Focused on the Future He Knew Progress Was Needed

When we dwell on the past we many times become distracted and discouraged. Paul said, “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (v. 13). What did Paul say? “I follow on.” Here Paul’s intensity is seen – he had a great desire to reach his spiritual goal

What was Paul reaching for? Paul was reaching for the prize. Paul knew, and so should we, that this can only be done as we faithfully fulfill our mission.

Paul kept his focus on the prize.

Focused on People

  • Philippians 3:15-16

Paul expresses genuine concern. Up to verse 14, Paul remains focused on his life (“I”- “me”-“my”-“myself”). But, in verse 15 he suddenly sifts to the plural “Let us” – Paul’s focus in life was also on others. Paul wants everyone to have the focus on the prize that awaits those that are faithful.

Also, there is included a gentle correction, “and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you,” one trait of immaturity is an inadequate grasp of God’s word.

Paul was confident that they would get the instruction they needed to make the proper decisions – he was confident that the dissenters would soon learn better.

We see a gentle correction.

We also see a general command, “Walk by the same rule…mind the same thing.”

To be spiritually united we must have a common authority – God’s Word. God's Word is the standard by which we are judged.

  • John 12:48

To be spiritually minded we must recognize that everything we do in life is from the authority of Christ. God’s will for us will be plain if we will obediently adhere to His written word. The Bible is the standard. If we are united in following the Word of God, and those he points out.

  • 1 Corinthians 11:1

Stay focused on the spiritual task before us. Stay focused on the prize, Heaven. Stay focused on the people. Our prize, our goal is Heaven, but we need to take others with us. As Christians we are called out of the world. 

When we obey the gospel, we believe and repent of our sins, when we confess our belief and are baptized to wash away our sins, we are called out of the world. We are separated from the world in that we have a different destiny.

We are here together, in the church, as the body of those called out, to go to Heaven and help each other get to Heaven. And, we're to reach out to the world to help them on their spiritual journey.

We urge you, if you haven't to put on Christ in baptism, to become a child of God. If you have done that, but aren't living a faithful life, you've lost your focus, you can repent today, and get back on the right path.

If we can assist you in coming to know the Lord and focus on the prize we ask you to contact us.

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