Philippians 3 : 13 - 14(ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


God wants to take us higher, deeper and further in our faith and walk in Him. We can expect new and greater things ahead as He always have more in store for us, individually and corporately as a church. As 1 Corinthians 2:9 puts it, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” He does not want us to settle for anything less than His perfect plan for our lives and the church.


Therefore, in order to take hold of what God has in store for us, we need to:
Let go of the past (Philippians 3 : 1 - 11)
Live in the present (Philippians 3 :12 -15)
Look forward to the future glory (Philippians 3 : 16 - 21)

Let GO of the PAST (Philippians 3 : 1 - 11)

The attitude with which we approach the new year can make all the difference. Regardless of how the previous year has been, we want to begin 2024 by rejoicing in the Lord and allowing this posture to set the tone for the entire year. Challenges ahead might make joy seem impossible, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will choose to rejoice in the Lord because He is faithful, sovereign and He works all things together for our good and for His glory.


Philippians 3:1(ESV)

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

As we evaluate our relationship with God, we need to examine if:

  • We are worshipping Him in the Spirit as our loving, gracious Savior and Lord OR
  • We have been putting confidence in the ‘flesh’, believing that the external expressions of our worship such as giving, active involvement in ministry and other spiritual activities are a means to please God and gain favour with Him. Without a heart of worship, all the outward manifestations of worship are in vain. 


Philippians 3 : 3 - 4(ESV)

3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh - 4 though I myself have the reason for confidence in the flesh also.

Our relationship with God is our most priceless possession. No wealth, honour, prestige nor human achievements can be compared with the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord. Yet, these often compete with our devotion to Christ and stand as a hindrance in our relationship with Him. Following Christ calls us to a new way of living – new standards and values, new desires and motives. What do you need to let go to pursue Christ? How can your whole-hearted commitment to Christ lead others to follow Him?


Philippians 3 : 7 - 8(ESV)
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

To know Christ and the power of His resurrection is to experience the power of His Holy Spirit at work in our lives, setting us free from sin and transforming us as we seek to “die to self” so that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” To share in His sufferings is to give up our rights and privileges, fully submitting to His will which may lead to hardship and suffering.


What needs to “die” in your life so that Christ can be manifested through you?

Philippians 3 : 10 - 11 (ESV)
10 That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Live in the PRESENT (Philippians 3 : 12 - 15)

Our goal as believers is to fulfill the purpose for which Christ saved us viz. to be conformed to the likeness of Christ and to lay hold of all that God has prepared for us to do for His glory. A Christ-like life is not achieved in a moment; it is a life-long process. We may think we have attained a certain level of spiritual maturity after years of following Jesus, but the question is “Are you becoming more like Christ?” How have you been laying hold of all that God has purposed for you to do? 


Philippians 3 : 12(ESV)
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.

To live well in the present, we need to “forget what is behind.” To “forget” is to refuse to allow the past to influence or deter us from living for the future. We can be shackled by past mistakes, regrets and hurts. But the past does not define our future. There is no sin the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse and no pain so deep that God cannot heal. The other aspect of the past that hinders us from moving forward is constant reminiscing over the glory and success of yesteryears. What things of the past do you need to leave behind in order to fully live in the present? 


Philippians 3:13a (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind. . .

The analogy of a runner in a race employed in this Scripture depicts a single-minded athlete whose chief goal is to finish the race and win the prize. He does not allow other pursuits to distract him from reaching the goal. Likewise, we are to be focused, disciplined, resolute and unswerving in running the race marked out for us, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6 : 33) and training ourselves to be godly (1 Timothy 4 : 7). What are you doing to train yourself consistently in godliness?


Philippians 3 : 13b(ESV)
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind   and straining forward to what lies ahead. . . 

So, what is our ultimate goal in pressing on with such spiritual determination in the race? The goal, as Paul states, is the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Unlike the runner in the race who receives a perishable crown, we will be rewarded with an imperishable crown that lasts forever (1 Corinthians 9 : 24 - 27). Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). If that is so, are you setting your mind on things above or on earthly things? (Colossians 3 : 2).  Is your current ‘straining forward’ and ‘pressing on’ leading to this end?


Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Look forward to the FUTURE glory (Philippians 3 : 16 - 21)

Starting strong is easy; finishing well is a challenge. To stay in the race, we need to hold on to what we have already attained, not losing ground even when we’re not gaining momentum. Just as “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2 : 5), let us not give ourselves the permission to ‘relax’ or ‘bend’ the rules, when we are under pressure. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12 : 2).


Philippians 3 : 16(NIV)
Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Who we are connected with and who we follow, for example on social media, can very well influence our beliefs and life choices. Choosing who we follow will determine the kind of inspiration we receive that could either fuel or stifle our passion for God. Paul exhorts believers to follow those who like him, seek to imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11 : 1). Are you following exemplary role models?  Who do you need to “unfollow”?


Philippians 3 : 17(NIV)
Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

By “enemies of the cross”, Paul was not referring to those who openly opposed Christ and His work. He was grieved because these were professors of religion who belonged to either one of these groups, i.e. the ‘legalists’ or the ‘liberals.’ The legalists depended on their religious observances and accomplishments to save them.  The liberals abused their Christian liberty, disregarded God’s holiness and preached a gospel of cheap grace. Jesus said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me” (Matthew 12 : 30, NLT).  Where do you stand?


Philippians 3:18-19 (ESV)
18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

The Philippians were proud of their status as Roman citizens. Though they lived far away from Rome, their patriotism was unquestionable. Similarly, as believers, our conduct must match our privileged status as citizens of heaven. As “aliens” and “foreigners” in this world, we do not set our minds on earthly things. Our focus is on Christ, doing His work and preparing ourselves for His soon return. Amidst pain and hardships, we remember that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, including a glorified body like Christ.


Philippians 3 : 20 - 21(ESV)
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.


Let Go of the Past (Philippians 3:1-11) 放下过去(腓立比书 3:1-11) Lepaskan Masa Silam (Filipi 3:1-11)
January  Rejoice in the Lord (3:1)   一月   靠主喜乐(3:1) Januari Bersukacitalah Dalam Tuhan (3:1)
February Putting No Confidence in the Flesh (3:3)  二月 不倚靠肉体(3:3) Februari  Tidak Menaruh Percaya pada Hal-hal Lahiriah (3:3)
March Counting Everything as Loss (3:7-8) 三月 把万事当作是有损的(3:7-8) Mac  Menganggap Segalanya Sebagai Kerugian (3:7-8)
April  Knowing Christ and the Power of His Resurrection (3:10-11) 四月  认识基督和他复活的大能(3:10-11) April Mengenali Kristus dan Kuasa Kebangkitan-Nya (3:10-11)


Live in the Present (Philippians 3:12-15)  活在当下(腓立比书 3:12-15) Hidup Pada Masa Kini (Filipi 3:12-15)
May Taking Hold of What Christ Took Hold of Me (3:12)   五月  得着基督耶稣要我得着的  (3:12) Jun Menangkap Apa Yang Telah Pun Ditangkap Oleh Kristus (3:12)
June Forgetting What is Behind (3:13a) 六月  忘记背后(3:13a) Februari  Melupakan Apa Yang Telah di Belakang (3:13a)
July Straining Forward to What is Ahead (3:13b) 七月  努力前面的事(3:13b) Julai Mengarahkan Diri Kepada Apa Yang di Hadapan (3:13b)
August  Pressing on Toward the Goal (3:14)  八月 向着目标竭力追求(3:14) Ogos Terus Mara Menuju Matlamat (3:14)


Look Forward to the Future Glory (Philippians 3:16-21) 展望未来的荣耀(腓立比书 3:16-21) Nantikan Kemuliaan Masa Hadapan (Filipi 3:16-21)
September Living Up to What We Have Attained (3:16)   九月 照着我们的程度去行(3:16) September Lanjutkan Menurut Jalan Yang Telah Kita Tempuh (3:16)
October Following Exemplary Models (3:17)  十月 效法榜样而行(3:17) Oktober Mengikuti Model Teladan (3:17)
November Unmasking the Enemies of the Cross (3:18-19) 十一月 揭开十字架仇敌的面具) November Mendedahkan Musuh Salib (3:18-19)
December Living as Citizens of Heaven (3:20-21)  十二月  活出天上公民的样子 Disember Hidup Sebagai Warga Syurga (3:20-21)