Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 3

Do not leave the right path

Philippians 3:16

Paul has described his Christian life with the word-picture of a runner in a race (3:12-14). Like the runner, he had to overcome the most extraordinary difficulties in his work for God. He did not do that by his own strength or courage, but in the strength and courage that God gave him (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).

It would be good if other Christians have that attitude too (3:15). However, we cannot all achieve what Paul achieved. God does not give to everyone the same strength, courage and other qualities that he gave to Paul. We all have different troubles and difficulties in life; we all have different opportunities to serve God and different work to do for him. God gives each of us the skills and qualities that we need to serve him in our own situations in life.

So, in Philippians 3:16, Paul changes his word-picture slightly. In the original language (Greek), he speaks about someone who is walking, and not a runner. In the Bible, that is a frequent word-picture for how people live their lives (for example, Psalm 1:1). The person who has reached the correct path, should walk along it, Paul says. That person has found the right route for his journey, so he must not wander from it. That way, and only that way, leads to the place where he must go.

Jesus is the true and living way to God; there is no other way (John 14:6). Sometimes it is difficult to live for him, but we must not leave him (Matthew 7:13-14). He alone can lead us to heaven, and to the life that never ends (John 6:67-69). So our problems in life are only a reason why we must trust Jesus more.

Next part: Imitate those who live to please God (Philippians 3:17)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.