Even though we consider Paul to have been spiritually mature, he never gave the impression that he was finished growing. In Philippians 3, today’s Scripture, he wrote that he had not yet reached perfection, signaling that spiritual maturity is not about a moment of arrival. It is, instead, a continuous progression that lasts our whole lives. What we can also appreciate about Paul is his honesty about his struggles and the areas of his life where he still needed growth (Romans 7:21; 2 Corinthians 12:8–9). But Paul never gave up, relying more and more on God’s grace and strength the further along the journey he gets.
It’s a lesson we can learn. The more we grow and mature, the more we realize just how weak we are on our own. As we grow in God, we realize our deep need for him. Pleasing him becomes our passion. Just as we relied on the gospel for our salvation, we continue to rely on Jesus’ saving work throughout our journey of faith. At no time in our walk do we rely on our own merits or efforts. Paul even says that he refuses to trust in the things that could lead to a successful life—his pedigree, his religious affiliation. Before Christ, he boasted in those things. But after accepting Christ, he considers it all rubbish (Philippians 3:8). He rejects all trust in his former identity and embraces a personal relationship with Jesus.