In 1905 a young man from a wealthy family entered Yale University. His family intended that after completing his degree he would enter a suitable career in America. But God gripped his heart with the needs of China and he volunteered to go to that country with the gospel, much to the dismay of his family and friends.
He left America but never made it to China, succumbing to a disease before reaching that distant shore. After his death, a note was found in his Bible that summarized his life: ''No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.'' I wonder how many of us could say the same thing?
The Apostle Paul paints a picture of the believer going for the gold. The imagery that Paul uses takes us back to the Roman and Isthmian games of the Greeks. The picture is of a runner in a long distance race. His objective is to win the prize, or as we would say, win the gold.
In our text, we could say, that he is calling for the believer to go for the gold. Let's look at the passage and the picture Paul gives us and learn a few things about the believer going for the gold. First we see:
I. PAUL'S EXAMINATION- verse 12
Despite all that he had done, he makes no claim of being perfect. Now, Paul was not speaking of sinlessness or flawlessness. The word that he used speaks of that which is full grown. The idea is that of spiritual maturity.
Nor does Paul use the word perfect to mean having arrived in his own spiritual journey. .'' J. B. Phillips renders it in very pithy English: ''I do not consider myself to have 'arrived', spiritually.
Paul knew the truth! He had not arrived, but was still working towards that ultimate goal - Perfect Christlikeness!
''Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect'' (v. 12a).He is declaring that he still has room for growth and there is still a need for spiritual development in his life.
So we know that nobody in the Christian life has arrived. Not ...
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