The Christian life is a journey. When you start on a journey, you don’t take everything with you; only those things you really need. To know what to take and what to leave behind is the critical issue. It is largely a matter of discrimination and transportation. In order to travel light, you need to unpack some luggage and throw out things you don’t need.
1. Dissatisfaction – (12-13a) “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature…. I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it….”
Every Christian needs a healthy dissatisfaction with where he is spiritually. Take the next step with God. Don’t be content to be spiritually mediocre.
2. Devotion – (13) “… but one thing I do…”
Every Christian needs a single-minded devotion to pursue the goal of Christlikeness.
3. Distraction – (13) “forgetting what is behind….”
Every Christian needs to discard the distractions of the past. Don’t depend on your past successes or be hindered by your past failures.
4. Determination – (14) “reaching forward to what is ahead I pursue as my goal the prize promised….”
Every Christian should determine to reach the goal…no matter what. Joshua didn’t invade Canaan in a rocking chair.
5. Discernment – (15) “Therefore, all who are mature should think this way, and if any of you think differently, God will reveal this also to you.”
Every Christian should be sensitive to hearing and obeying God’s voice and not our own.
Paul is a realist. He knows he is writing to Christians who don’t always see it his way . . . or God’s way. Mature Christians have spiritual discernment.
6. Discipline – (16) “…we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.”
Every Christian should be disciplined in the area of Christian living in order to reach the goal of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Bible history is filled with people who began well, but failed because they disregarded the rules. Think of Lot, or Samson, or Saul.
You break the power of the past by living for the future. This was Joseph’s secret. What his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. Joseph refused to pack bulging bags of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, and then drag them along behind him in his life.
I don’t know who has hurt you or how you have been hurt. But I know this: on the way to the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.”
Most of us are poor travelers. We forget we must put up with a great deal on the journey that would be intolerable at home. You are not home yet. Travel Light!