Press on Toward the Goal!
Highlights From Philippians
THE apostle Paul wanted Christians in Philippi to keep pressing on toward the goal for the prize of eternal life. Hence, he wrote to them in about 60 or 61 C.E., during his first imprisonment in Rome. His letter was sent to a congregation he had established some ten years earlier in Philippi, a city founded by Philip of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great). By the first century C.E., it had become “the principal city of the district of Macedonia,” now part of northern Greece and southern Yugoslavia.—Acts 16:11, 12.
Philippian believers were poor but generous. More than once, they had sent something to meet Paul’s needs. (Philippians 4:14-17) But his letter was much more than a thank-you note. It also gave encouragement, expressed love, and provided counsel.
Christian Qualities Evident
Paul’s letter opened with evidence of his love for Philippian believers. (1:1-30) He thanked Jehovah for their contribution to the furthering of the good news and prayed that their love increase. Paul was glad that his imprisonment caused them to show ‘more courage to speak God’s word fearlessly.’ He desired to be with Christ but felt he could yet minister to them. Paul also wanted them to go on “striving side by side for the faith of the good news.”
Next came counsel on attitude and conduct. (2:1-30) The Philippians were encouraged to show personal interest in others and to display humility like that of Christ. They were “shining as illuminators in the world” and were urged to maintain “a tight grip on the word of life.” Paul hoped to send Timothy to them and was confident that he himself would come soon. To reassure them about Epaphroditus, who had been very sick, Paul was sending them this loyal servant.
Keep Pressing Toward the Goal
The apostle next showed the Philippians where to place their confidence as they pressed on toward the goal. (3:1-21) It should be placed in Jesus Christ, not in the flesh or in circumcision as some were doing. Paul considered his fleshly credentials to be refuse on account of “the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ.” The apostle was “pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus” and encouraged the Philippians to be of the same mental attitude.
Applying Paul’s closing counsel would help the Philippians to keep the goal and prize in sight. (4:1-23) He urged them to commit their anxieties to God in prayer and fill their minds with wholesome thoughts. Paul again commended them for their generosity and concluded with greetings and the wish that the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ be with the spirit they showed.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians promotes generosity, love, and humility. It encourages confidence in Christ and heartfelt prayer to God. And Paul’s words surely help Witnesses of Jehovah to keep pressing on toward the goal for the prize of eternal life.
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Toward the Goal: “Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead,” wrote Paul, “I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13, 14) The apostle was exerting himself like someone in a race. He did not waste time and effort looking back but pressed on toward his goal—like a runner straining to cross the finish line. For Paul and other anointed Christians, the prize was heavenly life by resurrection after finishing an earthly course of faithfulness to God. Whether our hopes are heavenly or earthly, let us keep integrity to Jehovah and press on toward the goal as his Witnesses.—2 Timothy 4:7.