Everything that makes Paul who he is, who he was – a legalistic, rigid, God-fearing Pharisee – he now considers “a loss because of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7) Nothing compares to “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus.” Knowing Christ “and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings” is Paul’s goal.
He writes to the church at Philippi:
“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12)
Paul does not consider that he has reached his goal; indeed he writes that he continues to “forget what is behind and reach forward to what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13) Paul is pursuing a goal, a prize.
He tells us:
“Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you.” (Philippians 3:15)
Paul encourages us:
“Stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.” (Philippians 4:1)
“Agree in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:2)
“Contend for the gospel.” (Philippians 4:3)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
“Let your graciousness be known to everyone.” (Philippians 4:5)
“Don’t worry.” (Philippians 4:6)
Paul finishes with a call to focus on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and to praise God, who is the God of peace.
“Pursue as [your] goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
The prize is “gaining Christ and being found in Him, not having a righteousness of [our] own from the law, but one that is through faith in [Him] — the righteousness of God based on faith.” (Philippians 3:8,9)