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COLUMN: Make your ambition to please God

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By George Smith

 When we want to learn about success, we try to find someone who has done it. We had rather have a model of success than a manual of success.  

Next to the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul is the best model for successful Christian living we can find. Paul was an incredible man who lived life to the full and made his life count. He encouraged the Philippians to “pattern their lives after his” (3:17).

In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul gives four keys to successful Christian living. First, face your shortcomings. Take an inventory of your life.

It is important to know where you are before you can know where you want to go.  As you think of where you are, think of areas that need improvement. 

Letting go of the past is the second key. Paul says he will not be all God wants him to be if he dwells in the past. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a day away, so he will dwell in the present. Don’t let the past control you. Learn from the past, but don’t dwell in the past. 

Focus on the future. This is the third key for one who would have a successful Christian life. Successful people are goal oriented.

Paul gives a wonderful goal for our lives in II Corinthians 5:9: “We make it our ambition to please Him.” There is no better goal for one’s life than to try to please God in all that you think, do and say.

The last key is a determination to reach your goal. Paul said he “strained to reach the end of the race.” Successful people are ordinary people with an extraordinary determination. They never give up.

Life is not easy. In all the battles and challenges God is with you. What he starts, he finishes (Philippians 1:6).

“So don’t get tired of doing what is good” (Galatians 6:9).