I wanted to share with you this morning some Scripture that has been important to me in my spiritual journey:
Philippians 3:12-15 ~ “12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.”
I held onto past choices and mistakes for far too long. Growth and maturity is hard to do when you are still looking behind you. When I fully trusted that my past had been forgiven, that my old self was gone, I was able to begin seeking out the life that Jesus had before me. I began to lose interest in things that I found valuable (things that received much of my time, effort, thought, money, etc.), and God began to give me a new value system that was based on eternal significance, rather than things that had temporal or no value whatsoever.
John 13:1-10, especially v.8 ~ “Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
There have been many years in my life where I, like Peter, have attempted to do Christ’s ministry in His Church and for His people, and was reluctant to be cleansed and renewed by Christ. I am reminded when I read this passage that I cannot expect to be part of what Jesus has set out to do in the lives of people if I am not myself willing to be cleansed by Him. For me, this comes through the spiritual disciplines, spending time in His Word, and in silence, meditation and prayer.
Psalm 37:4 ~ “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
This verse has always been significant to me. Finding delight and joy in God, has given such fulfillment out of my life thus far. If I would have only pursued the desires of my heart, I would have found them to be wanting. But when I began to pursue God’s will and desires for my life, He began to bless my life with a family, ministry, and relationships that every time I begin to think about I feel a sense of peace and gratitude for His understanding of what things really matter in life. I don’t pursue things, cars, or money. Just Christ. Only Him. I want to have the life He wants me to have and nothing else could compare.
Philippians 2:5-13, esp. 12-13 ~ “12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
This verse follows right after the powerful words in verses 10-11 proclaiming, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Even now, reading this verse brings the reality of who Jesus is and what He did, and how it just changes everything. We are called to continue to live in God’s grace as He molds and shapes us into the person He created us to be. We "work out our salvation" by seeking God with all of our heart, mind, soul and body. What Christ did on the cross was enough. When He said, "It is finished"...He meant it. In response to the finished work of salvation on the cross, we are now at a point where we have to ask, "How then should I live?" Because of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, we long for our heart and our will to be aligned with God's. We want what He wants for our lives. We are abandoned to the things of this world, and our thoughts and actions become focused on things of eternal value - to the glory of God.