by David Brenneman
"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature, let's have this attitude; and if anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that to you as well; however, let's keep living by that same standard to which we have attained." Philippians 3:14-16 NASB
Gives me the notion of an uphill battle...
Gives me the notion of that runner who falters and falls within eyesight of the finish line and struggles to get back up to make it to the finish...
Are we persistent enough? Do we give up when the going gets tough? Do we convince ourselves that if we just get this or get that...that life would be easier to live? Are we seeking what it is that God wants of us? Realizing that each step we take, in Christ, is meant for our sanctification, not our personal gratification?
We are told by Jesus Himself that we will face difficult times...and difficult people. We will suffer at times. We will struggle at times. A seed only makes it out of the ground of hardship by persistence. Not by giving up.
Do you not yet realize that absolutely EVERYTHING that Jesus does is with a purpose? From granting even our so-called 'mortal enemies' a right to breathe right now to the troubles we struggle with ourselves?
What are we told to do? Jesus said in Mark 9 to consider persistence in prayer to overcome some things.
We are told in another place to ask, seek, knock.
We are told in another place to set our minds on things above.
We are told here in Philippians to press on, not to give up.
Paul said of himself to Timothy that he'd run the race...he hadn't given up...he persisted.
What of you? What of me? Are we more enticed to live out our days following the world's ideas of success rather than pressing on for that prize in Christ Jesus?
We are not here in this here-and-now...to have our own horn blown.
We are not here in this here-and-now...to have our light shine.
I've lived around a great many people in my life...some look at higher education as something to achieve...and oddly enough look down on those who do not have it. I've been overlooked and have been brushed aside because I didn't waste $50,000-$100,000 to get a piece of paper that says I know what I already know.
When the world highly values something...beware.
When the God of the Bible values something...then you had better sit up and take notice.
I'm heartbroken by those whom I have known who have gone the way of the world rather than at least standing their ground in Christ Jesus.
I've often looked at what could have been in my own life had I gone down those paths.
To be honest, I would never have found happiness in those things. It's not me. I'm to be who I am as Christ wants me to be. I'm being remade into His image by His workmanship to live out my days by His plan and purpose. It's not about my achievements, my education, my this or my that. Nor should it be for anyone else. None of that will matter when we stand before Jesus to give an account of our lives, the things we did in our bodies for Christ. None of it. It's not going to matter that I had a certificate for IPC or a Diploma or had I ever gotten an Associates Degree. It would not matter if I had countless letters after my name to signify my accomplishments.
What did I do for Jesus? What did I do to grow in Christ? What did I do to point people to Jesus so that they too might be saved?
Colossians 3:23-24 mention doing all that we do as unto the Lord. If your social media profiles don't reflect Christ...why not? Are you more interested in people knowing who you're supposed to be or to show them Jesus in you? If you aren't going to work with Jesus, who are you taking in with you? When you speak, when you write...are you at all thinking of how others might view you in light of your relationship with Jesus, or are you trying to puff yourself up?
Take a good good look at what the Lord Jesus said to Samuel. Man looks at the outward appearance of man. The looks, the achievements, God looks at the heart.
Is your heart one after God's own as David's was? Do you persist in spending time in His Word rather than wasting it on things of this world?
Do you persist in prayer? Do you look for ways to get to know God more? Have you stopped running the race set before you in favor of what this world has to offer? When you open your mouth...instead of what God's done...do you only speak of what you have done?
Just some things to consider going into this day and this week. We have enemies in this world when we come to Christ. They are NOT going to go away just because we have stopped running the race set before us. While they may applaud us and make us feel at ease, that there is the trap.
Proverbs 10:16 NASB "The wages of the righteous is life, the income of the wicked, punishment."
Proverbs 10:20 NASB "The tongue of the righteous is like choice silver, the heart of the wicked is worth little."
Proverbs 20:7 NASB "A righteous man who walks in his integrity--how blessed are his sons after him."
Read the last part of James 1:20...the righteous life that God desires.
Our purpose in this here and now was to come to Christ...and be saved.
To then grow in Christ...and become like Him.
To then be a light in this darkness...and point others to Jesus.
To do what we're called to do...not necessarily what we personally desire to do.
We are called to fight the good fight...to finish the race.
We are called to abhor evil and cling to the good.
What we will talk about in Heaven will be what God did...not about what we did.
We waste billions as a world population on self-improvement...self this and self that...when Jesus said to not trust in our own understanding...in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight.
We waste billions trying to be the answer man or answer woman...and NOTHING this world offers from wisdom and education matters in light of eternity in regards to growing in Christ. When you follow the world...you only learn the ways of the world. When you truly follow Christ...you learn to grow in Christ.
Persist in living God's way...press on...towards that upward call in Christ Jesus.
I personally don't care what people think of me. I want them to see Jesus, not me. As John the Baptist said...He must increase...I must decrease.
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