“Therefore, all who are mature, let’s have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that to you as well;” Philippians 3:15
The apostle Paul used his own life to describe the attitude of a mature believer. We tend to think of attitude as something that fluctuates with our feelings and circumstances. Paul, however, didn’t view his attitude as either good or bad; positive or negative. He saw it as either Christlike or not. Do you approach life with this same fixed mindset? Paul helps us do an attitude check.
First, are you actively pursuing Christ? What we pursue is determined by what motivates us. In the previous devotion we saw that the driving force in Paul’s life was to know Jesus better each day (vv7-11). This is where attitude meets action. If knowing Jesus more is our greatest desire, then being more like Him will be our greatest pursuit.
The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own” (v12).
Secondly, are you practicing forgetfulness? Spiritual maturity involves “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (v13). We have to let go of the past in order to move forward. Too many of us get held up by feelings of guilt. Something in our past whispers that we’re not good enough to pursue spiritual goals.
Or, we remember our old life with a certain amount of fondness. One of the great issues that plagued a generation of Israelites was looking back toward Egypt. Some even voiced preferring slavery to freedom because they didn’t like how God was leading them. Likewise, we cannot mature in Christ while yearning for the old days—days of being in bondage to sin.
Finally, are you keeping the goal in sight? Paul says again, “I press on toward the goal” (v14). In doing so, there are two extremes to avoid: 1) doing nothing in hopes that God will do it all; 2) trying to do it all. We cannot reach spiritual maturity without effort; nor can we achieve it through effort alone. We must work out what God works in, knowing that God Himself is at work in us (Philippians 2:12–13).
So, do you have the attitude of a mature believer? Remember, “if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that to you as well.” So ask God to reveal any mindset you have that conflicts with His Word; and correct it immediately. Spiritual maturity is a life-long pursuit. And no matter how much you grow in Christ, there is always more to know about Him and more ways to grow in His likeness.