Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV) 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. 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, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Here we go again! Ever feel like life is vicious repetitious cycles rather than prosperous seasons. Hours turn to days becoming weeks until a month is gone and then a year has passed and yet nothing seems to be as wonderful as the hope once held on to so tightly. Life is tough. It is a struggle. To live for Christ is not always a happy place filled with sunshine and roses. There are dark days with thick cloud cover when it is hard to see the Lord’s fulfillment nearby. Of course, every rose has its thorns. It is easy to get caught up in the tangled mess of circumstances and unfavorable conditions pulling our focus from forever and the possibilities of our new life in Christ. Are you there today? Wondering when fulfillment will come or if it will ever be the way once envisioned? I have excellent news for you today straight from God. Each day you are alive is a new beginning waiting to happen. A word of encouragement and yes it may be a bit hard to swallow but in the end it will produce the life that He promised when He finished the work before us. Sometimes life must be viewed through the realm of hope for the joy set before us rather than the rearview mirror of life and experience that makes what we hope for so elusive.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. There are some key points in this passage that cannot be ignored. We must focus on one thing. Jesus Christ. We must invest our whole life – heart, mind, soul and body in our pursuit of Him. Christ alone is the cornerstone of life and foundation of faith that a blessed, favored and prosperous existence is established. Diversified living produces divided interests that are not all profitable. Our existence must be continually filtered through our relationship with the Lord in order to become a valuable asset. Forgetting what lies behind us and straining for the future means letting go of everything that keeps us tied to the past in order to fully embrace the new life offered in Jesus Christ. The call is upward. Symbolic of a mountain climb to view life from a new vantage point and see the beauty unperceivable by human eye but only fully disclosed in the Presence of God. You will fight yourself. You will fight the enemy. Those who battle these foes will find life filled with satisfaction just like the Lord promised those who seek His Face.
Lamentations 3:21-25 (ESV) But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
I know what you’re thinking… another feel good message from an optimist. Not really…I just happen to have fully invested myself in the realm of hope. I wasn’t given a choice. To continue to live – I had to accept that there is life beyond today and a place for me in His Presence. When life no longer can be normal, it is the only option. There has to be a forever. There must be a Savior. I must seek Him until I find Him. He helps me in the process by providing new mercy each morning. If yesterday was a complete bust and I went to bed a failure all that changed when I woke up with new mercy waiting for me. His Grace is enough. It will always be enough. Jesus is from beginning to end. He is the Word. The Word cannot return void so nothing is impossible with the Lord. In every misstep and mistake, there is still a mission to be accomplished by divine direction that cannot and will not stop until it is complete. This is not because of my ability to be faithful and true. It is entirely based on the faithfulness of God and fulfillment of Jesus.
What does your soul say today? An empty soul cannot prosper and has nothing to offer your life. Our life prospers when our soul does. The Holy Spirit is the sole cultivator of our soul. He takes the measure of faith entrusted us and makes good fruit grow from it. He tills the hardest of hearts until it is fertile soil. He plants those seeds. He waters them with the Word of God. He carefully picks out the weeds with conviction. The problem is that the process takes time like any other season. We do not want to wait. We do not like discomfort and/or inconvenience. We abort the process and thereby the promise with it. So what does the Lord do? He gives us new mercy and abundant grace so a new life as a new creation is always possible to those who believe.
Zechariah 4:10 says, “ For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” We must not only recognize and rejoice in the smallest and minute areas of growth and development in our spiritual life. My husband gave me two hydrangeas last Mother’s Day. I love hydrangeas but am a well-known plant killer. I planted the little bushes in our flowerbed and walked away – literally. I went to inspect them after a long cold winter to find sticks where my plants used to be. I was a tad bit discouraged but what did I expect from my notorious black thumb. However, on closer inspection, I noticed new bright green leaves coming up from the ground and tiny buds covering the limbs. The plants are not dead but transitioning seasons. The dead leaves had to fall off to make room for new growth. I wonder if our inability to see past this season keeps us from recognizing the masterpiece that God is making in our midst. We despise those small beginnings as He takes the “plumb line” of Jesus Christ and measures our life. He is directing us upward to the high calling but we would rather wallow in the mud most days than engage in the process needed for new life.
Luke 1:37 (ESV) “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
If we must start somewhere, why not here? To wake up each morning expectant of His Love, Grace and Mercy ready to receive it on the principle that nothing, absolutely positively nothing, is impossible with God. We get to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. We have the Word activated inside of us because Jesus entrusted His Spirit to us as a guide and cultivator of purpose in us. We must stand on the foundation of Christ by faith with the expectant hope that nothing is impossible if we believe. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. This is confidence. This is our conviction. Faith is the assurance of what we hope for based on the strongest of convictions that even though we don’t see it – we believe that all things are possible with Jesus.
Proverbs 20:21 (ESV) An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.
Matthew 24:13 (ESV) But the one who endures to the end will be saved.