Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson.
1. What personal skills or qualities do you rely on each day? What makes you qualified (or not qualified) for what you do at school, work, home, or in ministry? What holds you back?
2. What do you value most and where do you find your identity?
Read Philippians 3:7-11
1. Paul was an important man in his day, well-known, well-connected, well-educated, and well-off. How it would affect your life if, like Paul, everything that previously mattered to you—your reputation, accolades, honors, family name, education, history—no longer mattered?
2. Talk about what it means to count everything “but rubbish so that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”
3. What does God value? According to the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-13, what kind of people are “blessed” people? How do you think your life measures up to this standard?
Read Philippians 3:12-16
4. The phrase “to take hold of” in v. 13 comes from the Greek word katalambanó, which comes from two words meaning “to come down from a higher plane” and “to aggressively take or seize in a firm manner.” How far did Jesus have to come for you? Discuss what katalambanó looked like in your life when you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and what you are called to do in response to it.
5. Many people allow their past to keep them from reaching toward what God has ahead. What excuses or fears have you heard others express (or have felt personally) when feeling ill-equipped or unable to live out a Christ-centered life or calling? Based on verses 13 and 14, what position should mature Christians have?
Read Philippians 3:17-21
6. Who do you think today live “as enemies of the cross of Christ” and why do you think Paul was brought to tears over this?
7. Think about people you know who set good Christian examples. What specific things do you see and hear them do that exhibit a life filled with Christ’s values? How could you follow suit? Consider ways you could thank and encourage those people this week.
Conclude your group time with prayer, using the following as a guide. Lord, help us to value what you value. Show us how to exhibit the traits that bring Jesus the most glory in our lives and that encourage others in theirs. Enable us to be living examples as we strain ahead, reaching forward into eternity, for your kingdom here on earth. Amen.