I. A good discontentment (v12)
1. Paul gives us his own example of a person who constantly pursues Christ
2. Paul was a Christian for over 30 years when he wrote this, and yet he would say “I have not obtained the knowledge of Christ.” He saw, year by year, how immense Christ is and how little of Christ he actually had.
3. We must never think we have “arrived” as a Christian. Although we have an unshakeable standing before God because of Christ’s righteousness, we have to guard against becoming passive as followers of Christ.
4. The underlying cause of this passivity is contentment to dwell on past accomplishments. Paul showcased his accomplishments in vv. 4-6 but wasn’t content to rest on them in light of Christ.
II. A proper focus (vs 13-14)
1. Paul shows us what a growing Christian looks like. He keeps the fire burning in his soul. He does two things simultaneously—the first is “forgetting the past,” and the second is “reaching forward to what lies ahead.”
2. First, “forgetting the past.” Looking too much to the past will destroy your future. There is no future in looking at the past. Paul made a decision not to keep thinking about, longing for, missing his past life. “Whatever in your past hinders you from pursuing God, you should put out of your mind.” Nostalgia replaces hope. Memories of failure can paralyze you.
3. Next, “reaching forward to what lies ahead.” This is a state of mind that is constantly looking ahead. Other places in the Bible encourage us to look forward to eternal realities. Just a few weeks back we heard a sermon from 1 Peter 1, where we touched on verses 3 through 6. As we think about our inheritance in heaven, we rejoice when we go through earthly trials. See 1 Corinthians 9:25-27.
III. A right attitude required (vs 15-16)
1. We’re meant to listen to this message and apply it to ourselves and not to others. Paul says “Let us, therefore…” It’s a clear call to every Christian to be responsible to develop closeness to Jesus.
2. A growing Christian has a mature attitude. He or she does not want to be childish and let others do the thinking for them.
3. Make a plan this week for prayer, Bible study, and worship of God and strain forward towards it. This is how you enjoy communion with God because you have been justified by God.
IV. Take Away
Don’t settle down as a Christian, plan and pray for ways to grow in Christ, and go all out!