Soar like an Eagle
Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
I have heard many people telling they want to soar like an eagle. People want to have success in life. The late Michael Jackson hit the pinnacle of success (as the world claims), but we know he ended as a failure. He was so depressed that he overdosed on drugs and died. Search engine Google has 330 million hits on success. The world has released over 820,000 books on the subject success. In spite of all this people of this world is still striving and craving for “success.”
Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14
Today I want to share with you some thoughts on how to achieve success. What really does it mean to be successful in life?
Philippians 3:12-14 12Not 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. 13Brothers, 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, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church. In chapter 3 Paul is writing them against false teachings in the church and he is asking the church to strive to know Jesus better following the example of Paul. Paul here is also giving some tips on successful living.
Meaning of Success: The achievement of something desired or planned; outcome of an action.
Many times we feel we are successful when we achieve a target or goal. That is the secular definition of success.
Arnold H. Glasgow “Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time.”
Example: Sachin Tendulkar, the most successful batsmen of recent years have scored 93 centuries in ODI & Test matches. Do you know that he has 36 ducks in international cricket? When Sachin hits a ton people called him the greatest but when Sachin is out cheaply people says he is past his best. This is how the world looks at success.
Apostle Paul had spent his life chasing a target to be successful as the world defines it. He had the right kind of family, the right knowledge. He did everything the world told him to be successful but in the end he found it to be worthless and rubbish.
For a child of God success is not an achievement of anything, success is a journey.
Philippians 3:8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
Until the day Paul met Jesus he was very much like any other successful person of this world, having everything and all privileges of this world. Paul now is telling I consider them rubbish, now my success is based on my knowing Christ.
Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Ben Sweetland "Success is a journey, not a destination."
The journey to success in our life begins when we make a choice to follow Jesus or know Christ. If anyone listening to me has not made a decision to follow Christ in your life, you think you are successful but indeed the Bible says you are not. Knowing Christ is a journey. I knew Christ yesterday, I know him more today, I will know him better in the future. The more I know Him the more successful I become. Because when you know Christ, Christ makes your life into what you were created to be.
Where does the journey of our success end? Philippians 3:20-21 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Success is a journey which starts with a relationship with Christ, a journey that takes us all the way to heaven and to all eternity. This is success for a child of God, leading a life of success with Christ.
Today, are you in this journey of success? If not you need to know Christ better and start a relationship with him.
How can we be successful?
1. Deal with your weakness
Philippians 3:12 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.
When Paul is writing this – he is an old man. If anybody had the right to claim to be successful and perfect – it would be Paul. He wrote most of the New Testament. He for the most part single handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. Yet Paul, at the end of his life, says "I don't have it all together. I'm not perfect. I still have not achieved my goal. I have my own weaknesses."
Apostle Paul had a weakness. The Bible never tells us what was Apostle Paul’s weakness but surely he dealt with his weakness. Having a weakness is not the issue; the issue is how you handle it.
We have to deal with our weakness to achieve success. Nobody's perfect, everyone has their own weaknesses in life. Deal with it.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
This verse does not tell that God delights in our weakness. This says that if you can identify and deal with your weakness by the power of God, God can turn your weakness into success. The energy, time, money, and effort you spent on your weakness can now be directed to achieve your goal in life.
Illustration: A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
After two years of what the cracked pot perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you because I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and he said, “I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path as we return home." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your weakness, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them.
"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table." Now that you are feeling bad about your weakness I will cover your leakage so that you can fill up to the brim.
The key to your success lies in how you handle your weakness. In God’s hands your weakness can be the potential for success. So do not be ashamed about your weakness, God wants you with your weakness. He will change you.
Deal with your weakness.
2. Forget your PAST
Philippians 3:13 But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
If you want success you will have to stop looking at your back. Stop worrying for what has happened. You can never drive a car if you look at the rear mirror. If you keep looking back you will never go straight. Sometimes it is good to forget.
Joke: An old man moved into a retirement community to spend the rest of his life. There was one lady he was especially attracted to, and she was attracted to him, also. So they spent a lot of time together. Finally one evening he proposed, asking her to marry him.
Sometimes it is good to forget. We need to forget our past.
What are the things you need to forget to change your focus?
a. Forget past Success. You cannot depend on your past victories and glory to come out of your present condition. Some of us are relying on our past good times and past glory.
Your future is not based on what God has done in your life; your future is based on what God is going to do in your life.
b. Forget past failures. Child of God, do not worry about your past failures, sins, and shortcomings. God is able to forgive you and is lending you a hand of hope. Do not allow your past failures to defeat you.
Example: Peter’s failure.
The problem is God has forgiven us but we don’t forgive ourselves we hold on to the past. Do not worry of what has happened in your past. The truth is – everybody has blown it at some point. Nothing you do will change your past. The past is past – learn from it and let it go.
3. Focus on the future
Philippians 3:13-14 But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
To achieve success you have to focus on the future. Have a godly goal, focus on it, strive for it and you will be successful. The key to our success the goals we have in life.
Our goal should be to please Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
Illustration: When Glory and I got married our goal was to do ministry, start a church, and win people for Christ. When God saw our goal pleasing to Him he provided everything needed for us spiritual and secular. All the blessings you see on us are a result of our spiritual goal.
Have spiritual goals that please God, God will bless you.
It is not enough just to have a goal in mind – you must also have the determination to reach that goal.
Illustration: Once a brother said me that he has a great burden to win souls for the Lord for the last 5 years. I said it is a good goal and asked him what really is he doing to win souls? He said, “Well I am thinking about it.” Nothing in life happens without an effort.
Paul said in Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
“Press” This word in the Greek means to pursue – as a hunter would pursue its prey.
Perhaps some of you today are thinking of giving up. Perhaps some of you are thinking of quitting – your job – your marriage – your relationship with your family. Some of you are saying: “I’ve had it – enough is enough.” I am a failure. I would encourage you today to keep on. Paul said "I am not going to quit. No matter what happens, I'll never give up.
When we have a strong relation with Christ, forget our past, and focus on the future and chase after the goal; God will change your life to be a great success. We will indeed sore like an eagle.
Amen & God bless you!
This sermon belongs to the series Uncategorized. Other sermons in this series: