While Paul sat in a Roman prison from AD 60 to 62, he wrote letters to churches he had started or visited on his missionary journeys. Despite his circumstances, Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is filled with joy. Philippians reveals Paul’s heart as a devoted follower of Christ. It is full of practical advice about how to live for Jesus and love others.
In the third chapter, Paul wrote about knowing Christ. He said that his relationship with Jesus was the only thing that mattered. This was in stark contrast to his priorities before becoming a believer. As a devout Jew, Paul had been proud of his status: He was circumcised according to the Law, he belonged to the Israelite tribe of Benjamin, he was a faithful Pharisee, and he obeyed the Old Testament law. Now, as a Christian, Paul considered these accolades to be worthless.
Paul set an example for the Philippian believers. They had been distracted by false teachings. He encouraged Christians to press on through difficulties by essentially keeping their “eyes on the prize.” He set himself up as an example for the Philippians to imitate. Paul was motivated by God’s promise to stand before the Lord, meet Him face-to-face, and know Him completely. Paul’s journey toward Christian maturity involved figuring out God’s call on his life and carrying it out.
Our perseverance in the race reminds us of Jesus’ enduring the cross, which provided forgiveness of our sins and salvation. Because Jesus fixed His sight on the victory that awaited Him, we persevere, fixing our gaze on the hope that one day we will be glorified with Him.
As you talk with your kids, help them think about the Christian life as a race. We don’t want to get distracted or give up running even though it is hard. We can encourage one another toward the finish line. The Lord will help us, and He promises a wonderful prize: life with Him forever.
Following Jesus is like running a race for a wonderful prize. We remember that Jesus never sinned but He endured the cross so we can have forgiveness of our sins. We press on to fully know Jesus and share in His victory for eternity.
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
- Babies and Toddlers
- Following Jesus is better than anything.
- Knowing Jesus is better than anything.
- Paul wanted to know Jesus more and more.
- We wait for the day when Jesus will come back.
- God makes us more like Jesus.
- Following Jesus is like running a race.
- What is sanctification? Sanctification is how God makes us more like Jesus.
- Following Jesus is like running a race for a wonderful prize.
- What is sanctification? Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
- 1 Timothy 6:12
● “Paul Before Rulers” (Acts 24–26)