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Going for the Goal

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Going for the Goal

Philippians 3:12-4:1

            This morning I would like to talk about going for the goal.  Every Sport has it own goal, or objective.

            Help what is the goal of




            Nascar Racing?

            Dale Earnhardt said, following one race, “I cried a little bit in the race car on the way to the checkered flag. Well, maybe not cried, but at least my eyes watered up.”

            Every sport has its goal and winners have a plan to win.

            Paul shares with you four strategies if you want to for the goal. 

Your first strategy is:


Look with me at Philippians 3:12

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Paul begins by saying I strive for perfection, but, I am not there yet.  He said, I am not at the point of absolute spiritual maturity, I still have a ways to go.  If Paul could humble himself and say, “I still have room to grow,” surely we can also.

However, there are some people who live life in a perfection obsession.  You know who I am talking about.  The man who re-works everything until he accomplishes nothing.  The person who is so compulsive about cleaning her home, having no live but the vaccum cleaner, and the dishwasher.

Perfectionism will flood over into ever part of your life.

I remember a young couple, they joyfully discovered, after years of trying, they were going to have a baby.  However, they were both perfectionists  They did what a lot of expectant parents do, they purchased books on how to raise a child.  But they went over board.

They read every book they could lay their hand on.

They taped the baby experts on the afternoon talk shows, to watch later that evening.

They devoured every DVD suggested to them about child care.

I witnessed this obsession develop and consume all their time. I finally asked they why?  Why were they sending each waking minute reading or watching child grow specialist?

I still remember their answer, “we want to be perfect parents.”

It was funny, they came to months later, after reading till their were blurry eyed, and listen till their ear bleed, and said, “none of these professionals agree on how to raise children.  One says be permissive, and another claims you must be the disciplinarian.  We are never going to learn how to be perfect parents.

I just smiled, because they were right.  No one is prefect.

When Paul said he was not perfect he was states that he has not come to the place in his Christian life where growth in spiritual maturity has been completed, beyond which there is no room for further development. 

            Chasing after perfection will devastate you.

I thought this was interesting article for Mothers Day:

THE PRESSURE FOR PERFECTION A British website had some interesting results from a survey of mothers. The survey showed that 91% of mothers constantly feel under the spotlight because of pressure to be the perfect mom. They blame that pressure on the media, the Government, schools and education campaigns. But despite feeling pressure to be perfect, 80% said they were "pretty" or "very" confident that they were doing a good job. Of the 514 mothers who took the survey, more than half (54%) said they spend more quality time with their children than they themselves got in childhood.

It is sad to watch people throw away their lives striving for the illusion of perfection   How much more productive and helpful it would be to join Paul and say,  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect.

Remember a perfectionist is a person who takes extreme pains; while and giving them to others.

If you are going to go for the goal this morning, Banish the perfection obsession.

Not only must you Banish the perfection obsession, we need to:


            Notice what Paul says in verse 13.

            Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind

            Where is says “Forgetting” Paul used a strong word in the Greek.  It means “completely forgetting.” Paul uses an illustration here of a Greek runner completely forgetting his opponents whom he is leading in the race. Just as a runner’s speed is slowed should he think of those behind him, and the thud, thud of their pounding feet, so the Christian’s onward progress is hindered should he dwell on the past full of failures and sins, full of heartaches and discouragements, full of disappointments and thwarted hopes and plans. As long as a Christian has made things right with God and man, he should completely forget the past.

            Not only should Christians purge away the past, so should parents.  If are a parent, then you had experienced mistakes and failures.

            Life is made up of mistakes and failures.  The people who succeed in life are the ones who overcome their earlier mistakes; they purge their past.

            Do you remember the Nike advertisement some years ago, a voice came over the television saying, "I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Those words were spoken by Michael Jordan, by most standards the greatest basketball player ever to play the game.

Don’t forget the best Major League baseball teams lose one of every three games. The best batters fail to get hits six to seven times out of ten. One minor league player in fourteen makes it to the big leagues. Still, they consider the chance to succeed well worth the possibility of failing. They say you can’t stop swinging for fear of striking out.

            If you are going for the goal, banish the perfection obsession and purge away the past.

People who go for the goal also…


Verse 13

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

Straining toward describes stretching a muscle to its limit, and pictures a runner straining every muscle to reach the finish line.

Paul was living and acting in the present. Many people today try to live in the future. Do you know what the busiest day in the world is going to be? It’s not Christmas. It’s not the day before and after your Anniversary. It is "someday." Everyone in the world has something scheduled to do "someday."

 I’m sure that we’ve all made plans for "someday," but the fact is, SOMETIMES "someday" never come through.

Paul is the ultimate example of living each day to the fullest -- living each day as  if it were your last. When he was imprisoned in Rome, he didn’t sit there resting, thinking about all the things he would do when he got out of jail. He wrote letters to churches, sang praises to God, and even converted some of the people who had imprisoned him! Paul used everyday to the uttermost.

People who reach their goals, banish the perfection obsession, purge the past, and plunge into the future.

Goal reachers also…


            14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [1]

You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures. Charles Noble.

It was a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
The water was numbingly cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit. . . only one-mile from her goal.

Later she said, "I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land I might have made it." It wasn’t the cold or fear or exhaustion that caused Florence Chadwick to fail. It was the fog.

Many times we too fail, not because we’re afraid or because of the peer pressure or because of anything other than the fact that we lose sight of the goal. Maybe that’s why Paul said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).

Two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land.

            The goal on which believers must focus is being like Jesus Christ. [2]

            That might be why Oswald Chambers said, “My Goal is God any cost, dear Lord, by any road.”

            This mother’s day, this Sunday of Pentecost remember, if your are going to be both a goal setter and a goal achiever you need a stragey

            Paul would suggest this four point stragey

1.      Banish the perfection obsession

2.      Purge away the past

3.      Plunge into the future

4.      Zero-in on the goal.



[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Php 3:14). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[2]MacArthur, J. (2001). Philippians (248). Chicago: Moody Press.

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