Monday, July 7, 2014

The High Calling

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 KLV) Have you ever read this verse of scripture and just wanted so badly to get inside of the Apostle Paul’s head and figure out just how he did that? How did Paul forget his persecution of the believers? How did he forget that he denied the very Christ that he now professes? How did Paul go from referring to himself as “the chief of sinners” to saying in 2nd Corinthians chapter seven, “we have wronged no one”? How did he forget that he gave consent and held the coats as the people stoned Stephen? I wonder about this, not to judge Paul, but to free myself. How do we walk away from our past and break the ties that hold us hostage to become all that God is calling us to be in Christ Jesus. Once I became a Christian, it was very easy for me to forget the things that I did outside of salvation, because I understood that when I did those things, I was simply doing what sinners do. My struggle comes when I mess up as a Christian. How do I walk away from those things? How do I leave them in the past and reach forward to the things that God has before me? Then a couple of weeks ago, the Holy Spirit showed me where the problem laid, a spirit of unworthiness. All of my life, I have struggled against this spirit of unworthiness. Once I became a Christian, the warfare with this spirit intensified. As time passed, instead of growing more confident in my walk with God, my footing became less and less sure. I would hold back, thinking that surely God does not plan to use me! I am certainly not the one He will use, maybe my mom or my sisters, but surely not me! Yet God continued to speak to my heart the things that He was calling me to. Each time I thought that I was able to stand in the confidence of who I am in Christ, that same spirit of unworthiness would fire off another arrow, “who do you think you are that God would use you? Remember when…” So my confidence would be shaken and I would fall back to that position of “surely God does not plan to use me!” I know what you are thinking, “OK Evangelist, we get that part, but where is the remedy?” The remedy beloved is found within that same verse of scripture. In Philippians 3:3 the Apostles admonishes that we put no confidence in the flesh. You see, our human weaknesses, our human failings will never satisfy the righteousness and holiness of God. We will NEVER be worthy of what Christ did for us, we will NEVER be worthy to name ourselves among the sons and daughters of God if we place our confidence in our flesh (our humanness). We will NEVER stand justified before God in that place, if that were so Christ would never have taken on our sins. What we do is just what the Apostle Paul did, we forget those things that are behind us, even if the “behind us” was only two minutes ago, and we look ahead to who Christ is calling us to be. We see ourselves as the Father sees us, through the cleansing blood of Christ and we keep moving forward. Don’t get stuck in condemnation and recrimination. The Father knew every time that you were going to mess up before you ever did. Does that mean that He excuses our sins, no; it means that our failures NEVER determine God’s love for us and it NEVER changes His plans for our lives. Paul realized this and made the decision that all the things that were important to him, all the things that gave him confidence in his flesh were garbage when compared to the call of God on his life. He forgot the man that Saul had been and he saw himself in the light of what Christ had done for him. So what is my remedy for us, dearly loved ones? Both you and I must forget our failures; dismiss that sense of unworthiness, because Christ made us worthy. Our goal must be to reach forward, striving to catch hold of what has caught hold of us. Christ made us worthy through His blood, the Father sees us as worthy through the blood of Christ and His plan for us is eternal. There is a high calling in Christ Jesus that once we determine we are going to pursue it with our whole heart, it will lead us into the fullness of who God created us to be and we will be able to stand before Him in confidence that we fulfilled His purpose in our lives. Be encouraged dearly loved ones!

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