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Hit the Tape! (16 of 21)
Series: Joy Book
In the third chapter of the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul is giving a series of word pictures which explain what the Christian life is like. In the opening verses of this chapter he has compared the Christian life to a bookkeeper. He uses an accounting word picture, and he talks about the asset column and the liability column and he talks about the credit column. The Christian life there is compared to a bookkeeper counting up what it really means to be a follower of the Lord Jesus.
In the verses we have read he gives another beautiful word picture and he takes this picture from the world of athletics. He becomes a runner.
When you read the letters of the Apostle Paul it becomes very apparent to you that Paul was familiar with athletic activities. He has all kinds of athletic terminology in his letters. It causes us to think that probably, as Paul was touring on his preaching ministry, sharing the Gospel of Jesus to the various major cities of the ancient world, that along the way he would go by the stadiums and he would attend the games. Paul evidently was a sports fan.
While watching those games he would draw many analogies and many lessons about life. He came to see that the Christian life is very much like a race. In those days they had the Olympic Games and there were a lot of track and field events in those days. One of the main ones was running. Evidently, Paul uses figures of speech about running to describe what the Christian life is all about.
What he is doing in these verses is basically giving us the picture that the Christian life is like a race, that we are in a race, and that we are racing to be what God wants us to be, growing into that kind of person God would have us to be.
In that light and in that context, it helps us understand what seems to be a contradiction between verse 12 and verse 16. In verse 12 he says, "Not as though I had ...
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