We’re beginning a series of studies from the book of Philippians. We so often read letters like this (and rightfully so) from the viewpoint of those the letter was written to. Imaging, though, that Paul was writing this letter to us while he was imprisoned in Rome. This is in his later years, and Paul has fewer freedoms than he had when he was first taken into captivity in Rome. Yet he takes the time to write a letter to encourage Christians. He is still concerned about those churches he helped found, and his letter is preserved to still give instruction and encouragement to us.
In our last lesson, we started this series in Philippians 1, and we spent some time looking at the dire situation Paul was in while imprisoned in Rome. We saw his joy and gratitude at the proclamation of Christ’s message and how his entire life had become wrapped up in Christ’s mission. Joy and thankfulness — these are possible in Paul’s life because of his complete faith and trust in Christ despite his current troubles.
This is our third lesson from the book of Philippians, and we’re going to be looking at goals in the context of chapter 3. What aims do you have? Where do you want to go in this life? What plan do you have to meet those goals; how do you measure success; what steps will you follow? What feelings and motivations drive you to those goals? When we set goals, we can either set ourselves up for failure or success based on the answers to these questions.
In our spiritual lives, we must have goals that are measurable and actionable. We have to be prepared for the challenges and pitfalls we might face. We must be motivated to reach for those goals, or we might let them slip away from us. We might lose sight and begin to drift. What are your goals for spiritual growth? For church attendance? For benevolence? For encouragement? For teaching?
Through our studies of Philippians we’ve looked at our lives in perspective of the hope of salvation. We’ve talked about what it’s like to try to be like Jesus. We’ve looked at our goals and measured them against Paul had for his spiritual growth. Finally, we’re going to look at the joy we should have in Christ and the way prayer and thanksgiving can help us attain that deep spiritual joy.