Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Always Tripping Myself Up

 Philippians 3:13 is one of my favorite verses:  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. My middle name is not Grace I can assure you.  I stumble because I do not focus on my surroundings and get in a hurry and then end up on the ground.  Physical stumbling is not my only problem  I cannot seem to get the mental stumbling blocks out of my way either, so I tend to I stumble on things behind me too!I look at the Apostle Paul and I see a man who had a difficult past to contend with. His early years were spent tormenting Christ's followers. Then he met Jesus and everything changed for him. He chose to move forward as the new man he’d become.  He chose not to wallow in the muck of condemnation, he stepped into the grace of Christ with determination. He wrote a heart-felt message similar to the wall art in his New Testament letter to the believers in the church of Philippi.  In Philippians 3:10-14 he tells the church, “ I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 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. 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  I have read this section of scripture many times.  I have even preached on it…., it was not until I delivered a sermon on this that I realized that the conversation didn’t end there. What Paul says next in Philippians 3:15-16 is a game-changing statement: “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”  I don’t know about you….but I want to be mature. I want to think this way. I want to hold true to what I’ve attained in Christ. It’s the way of life!  When I was putting my sermon together and I read this…it was at that moment that  I begin to realize what Paul was really saying !  It was so simple….Let it go, people! Move on. Greater things await you. Don’t look back. It's no good for you. You won’t gain any traction on the plans that God has for you. If you choose to look back then you need to grow up because that is not where your promise lies. If you are mature in your faith you will believe the gospel. When you are forgiven … You. Are. Forgiven. Believe it. What Jesus did for you and me covers anything that we lay at His feet. Fully.  My life has not always been sunshine and lollipops….but….that doesn’t matter!  I’m reminded that it's time to move forward. That it’s time to fix my eyes on what is ahead, not on what is behind. That God’s mercies are new every day.  BUT WAIT!  We don’t just sweet everything under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen.   We confess it to the Lord and ask Him for forgiveness.  Grace meets us in the asking and settles it with God. Because of this we can move forward in His grace. Life is more often than not….complicated and messy.  The Bible invites us to take our aching, angry, abused, or offended hearts to Jesus so that He can give us the rest we long for.  The past has no hold on us.   I have come to the decision in my spiritual walk that the next time I’m tempted to look back at a failure or an old heart wound, I will choose not to beat myself up … I am not going to re-hash a painful moment… I am not to going to place blame … I am not going to stumble on things that are behind me.  Instead I will reach for grace. I will reach for Jesus and call to Him for help.

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