Eyes on the Prize (Philippians 3:4-14) Sunday School Lesson

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What can we brag about? Kids often like to tell stories about themselves or boast over things they have done. It is easy, at a young age, to be self-centered and have focus on their own experiences. In this lesson from Philippians 3:4-14, children will learn it’s not our own power we should brag about. The only thing we have at the end of the day is Jesus, and we want to make sure He is our first and foremost focus.

Jesus … the One Thing Worth Bragging About

Lesson focus: Jesus should be first in our hearts and minds. Instead of trying to find our identity and worth in the things that we do, we need to find our strength and place our hope in Christ alone.

Passage: Philippians 3:4-14

Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)

Materials Needed: Cardboard cut into circles (about 5-6 inches across) or small paper plates; decorative materials; string or ribbon.

Optional Coloring Page: Book of Philippians

Lesson Opening: The game of one-up…can you out-brag your neighbor? Start with a challenge. Go around in a circle or between pairs of students, and have them try to outdo one another on different bragging topics. Provide a starter, such as “I finished a book in five days.” Then have students come up with more impressive statements, like “I did it in two days” or “I wrote a book in five days.” These elements can be real things, trying to come up with amazing past events; or they can be made up to sound exciting.

Explain to students that we are going to talk in this lesson about boasting. Sometimes it seems like we need to talk about ourselves or tell others what we have done. But there is only one thing we should be boasting about, and that’s our relationship with God.

Kids Bible Lesson from Philippians 3:4-14

Explain for students that today we will talk about what gives us confidence. Have students discuss what they are proud of and what they enjoy doing. What are the best moments they can brag about?

Describe a little about the epistle: this lesson comes from the book of Philippians. This book was written by the apostle Paul. Remind students of Paul’s background. He started as a Jew, who persecuted Christians. He thought if he followed the law he could earn God’s favor.

After discovering Jesus, Paul realized that none of the things he had done were enough. It only mattered that he knew Jesus and let Jesus control his life. To the Philippians, he explained some of this:

If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Paul admits that he used to place his identify and hope in what he could do. He thought his own righteousness could save him. Sometimes we act like this is true. But it’s good for us that we don’t have to worry about doing it on our own! If we have faith, then the positive things that Christ did will take care of us and cover the bad things we do. How do we do this? How can we focus on Jesus? By making him more important. Instead of bragging, we can encourage other people and try to help them.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We cannot earn any sort of heavenly prize, ultimately. We can’t do enough for that. When we “press on to make it my own”, it means that we focus on God as the biggest element in our faith. We do want to work hard, but that doesn’t mean we are in control. We have to let God have control as we tell HIM that we know He is in charge, and ask for His help in every action we do.

“Eyes on the Prize” Craft Idea from Philippians 3:4-14

Eyes on the true prize…medal making. Have students decorate cardstock circles or small paper plates, using coloring materials, stickers, and the caption “Eyes on the Prize…I press on toward CHRIST JESUS” and/or verse reference. Attach ribbon or string so that kids can wear the “medals” if desired. 

Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank Him for being our savior and protector, and ask for help in following Him closely. Remind students to make Jesus our bragging point!

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