A friend from church, Katie Waters, who leads the 4Kids program at 4 Points Church, recently highlighted this encouraging verse in the Bible App, and it especially caught my heart this morning:
Paul in his letter to the Philippians, recorded in this new testament book of the Bible, makes it clear that he has not yet “arrived” at perfection, but that he is pressing on to possess it — and he reminds us of the most important part, “for which Christ Jesus first possessed me”.
Yes, knowing and believing that Christ Jesus loved us first while we were yet His enemies, and that He did it out of mercy ands grave towards us that eas totally undeserved is the key that truly unlocks the shackles of our old way to a new way, to The Way.
In fact, good Christian lovers of your enemies, we aren’t even striving to live perfectly in the eyes of other people — we are pressing on for more of the old “me” to be burned away by these trying fires and for more of “Christ in me” to be revealed.
Religious people can fake “living clean lives” and justify to themselves and others why they are better than “those people who live filthy lives” — and be no more a true Christian with saving faith — than a crypt that a scam artist might repaint the outside and try to convince a fool to buy as mansion to live in.
You have not arrived at perfection, my friend. Nor are you lowly and forgotten of you whil lady down your life, believe upon Him, and give Him all the glory instead of seeking it for yourself.
How easy it is to fall off either side of the path when we set our eyes upon ourselves — think too highly of ourselves or too likely of ourselves — because we are thinking of OURSELVES!!! The beauty of the gospel is setting our eyes upon Jesus, upon Christ alone our Cornerstone. And in doing that, let the raging fire of His presence in our lives melt away both our pride and our shame to make it about pressing on to Him — not just “towards a better us”, but TO HIM.
Christianity isn’t about “being perfect”, or even “being better”, or even “living best” because all those are about “me”. Christianity is truly about surrendering our old life to allow Christ to live through us, and for Him to get all the glory for His work that He has done both at the cross, upon the throne, and through our lives here on earth.
Yes, this is a “simple fundamental” of the faith and isn’t some earth shattering new revelation or some wise, hidden treasure dug out from hiding — out is clearly on display for our minds to consider. But I wonder how often our mind hearing this repeatedly as a fundamental might have left it buried and undelivered to our hearts for the pressing and the crushing and the humbling repentance to have its way on not just our intellect, but our innermost.
Lord, thank you for everything that is worth anything. Help us to lay it all down for what is truly best. Help us to keep our eyes on you. Comfort us in love with your rod and your staff when we are distracted, and lead us along The Way. Amen.