End of the Year Inventory is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.
Business owners are busy at the end of the year taking inventory. This is a painful but necessary reality so they know if they have made a profit or not. They take the information they receive and make adjustments for the coming year.
As Christians, we need to stop at the end of the year and measure our progress. Sometimes this is a very painful thing to do. But that is what we are going to talk about today. In our reading today Paul is taking inventory of his life and he gives us the 5 next steps of how we are to evaluate our life by still moving forward.
12 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. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 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.
PAUL’S EVALUATION OF HIS LIFE INVENTORY
His Dissatisfaction With Himself
(Verses 12 - 13)
12 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. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
Obviously, Paul was satisfied with Jesus, but he was not satisfied with his Christian life. A sanctified dissatisfaction is the first essential to our progress in the Christian race of life.
Many Christians are self-satisfied because they compare their running with that of other Christians, usually those who are not making much progress. Had Paul compared himself with others, he would have been tempted to be proud and perhaps let up a bit.
Has this year produced in us a self-satisfied life where we are tempted to be proud?
13b But one thing I do
Paul said one thing I do, not many things I do. Many Christians focus on too many things and Paul wants us to evaluate the one thing we do great. The true follower of Jesus must devote himself to running the Christian race. No athlete succeeds by doing everything; he succeeds by specializing.
(James 1:8 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways) Has our year been focusing on many things or the main one thing?
How He Viewed His Direction
13c Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead
The unsaved person is controlled by the past, but the Christian running the race looks toward the future. Imagine what would happen on the racecourse if the runners started looking behind them. They could possibly have a collision or serious injury.
Believers should be future-oriented, To Forget means to no longer be influenced by or affected by. Not fail to remember
Have we been breaking the power of our past by living for our future hope in Jesus?
His Own Determination
Vs 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I press, this same verb is translated “I follow after” and it carries the idea of intense endeavor. The Greeks used this word to describe a hunter eagerly pursuing his prey. A follower of Jesus does not become a winning athlete by listening to lectures aka sermons, watching movies, reading books, or cheering at the games. He becomes a winning athlete by getting into the game and determining to win!
Has our past year been an intense endeavor to win for Jesus.
Vs15-16 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.
It is not enough to run hard and win the race; the runner must also obey the rules. Paul is emphasizing the importance of the Christian to remember the spiritual rules laid before him in the word of God. If we are not in our word daily we will in essence break our training and be disqualified. We cannot compete at the highest level if we do not understand the rules.
Bible history is filled with people who began the race with great success but failed in the end because they disregarded God’s rules. As we evaluate our year, have we been in God’s word daily so we can know the rules required for battle?
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