Recently I joined a First Place 4 Health online small group for prayer, Bible study, and accountability. Our activities include a weekly Scripture memory verse. This week – our first week – we were challenged to memorize Philippians 3:14.
I taped the Scripture card to my desk where I can see it all the time and began to work on it. But soon I began to have questions. I needed to know more about the verse. If I’m going to work to “hide God’s Word in my heart” then I need to know its meaning, its truth, so I can understand it and apply its principles to my life.
First, I needed to understand the context. So I backed up and read the entire third chapter of Philippians. Paul began by addressing a false teaching plaguing the Gentile believers in Philippi. Jewish Christians were pressuring them to be circumcised. Paul passionately reminded the Philippians not to place in any value in works or accomplishments. Instead they must focus on Christ and push forward to God’s purpose for them.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14, NIV
Once I had the basic context, the specific verse prompted three questions I wanted to answer. So back to the larger context to find my answers!
- What is the “goal” I’m to press toward?
My “goal” is to be all Jesus saved me for and wants me to be (Philippians 3:12) – including experiencing the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3:11) and receiving my glorified body (Philippians 3:21).
2. What is the “prize” God has called me to?
Our “prize” is glorious! Here are the things I found:
- To know Christ – and that’s priceless gain! (Philippians 3:8)
- To have Christ (Philippians 3:8)
- To become one with Christ (Philippians 3:9)
- To experience Christ’s mighty power (Philippians 3:10)
3. What does it look like to “press on?”
“Pressing on” requires discipline, diligence, and determination. It’s a lifelong process of following Christ in trust and obedience. Here are a few specifics I found in chapter 3.
- I must get my priorities straight – Jesus over earthly things (Philippians 3:8)
- I must trust in Christ’s ability to save and not my own abilities (Philippians 3:9)
- I must focus on my sanctification (Philippians 3:12)
- I must not dwell on past failures – or successes – that would keep me from moving forward (Philippians 3:13)
- I must “dethrone” my earthly appetites and enthrone Jesus (Philippians 3:19)
Wow! There’s a lot of punch behind that one little verse. These 20 words reflect a lifetime of faith and discipleship. I’d say that’s worth taking to heart.
How do you feel about memorizing Scripture? Do you find it too hard? Are you working on a passage now? If so, I’d love to hear what it is!
Want to memorize Philippians 3:14? Print this Scripture memory card to help! (Click on the photo below to access the printable PDF.