Philippians 3:13-15King James Version (KJV) 13 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, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
The Struggle is Real and So Is Our God
Last week, we talked about how the hard work of our salvation has already been done. We don't have to focus on losing Christ; He's not going anywhere. So, being born again is easy. We confess and believe. But that doesn't mean we don't have work to do.
Where there's work, there's a struggle and there is a struggle in the walk. Our struggle isn't external. As we are reminded:
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
What we wrestle with in this walk in Christ is what comes from the inside. Attacks are real, but the battleground is in how we think. Our response to any attack first begins as a thought. That's why Paul challenged us with renewing our mind (Romans 12:1-2). After all, as a man thinketh, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
This mind-renewing process is the work. To be Christ-like means to think and then act as Christ would. That involves study and exercise. Its one thing to 'know' a thing about Christ. It is something else to be able to move in it. Moving in flow with the Holy Spirit becomes the source of our testimonies.
Our testimonies of going through and getting over are important. They are important for those who are new in Christ, as well as to those who are seasoned, to understand that the process takes time and effort. The transition is instant. The transformation takes time. It's like working out. YES it's hard when its new. And sometimes, it's hard even when it's your lifestyle.
I have a friend who is a fitness monster. She does kettle balls, and runs marathons and eats a very healthy diet. She recently found herself in the middle of a squat challenge and daily she shared just how hard it was to meet the challenge. If someone who is physically active and strong struggles with a challenge then of course it will be difficult for someone who spends more time on the couch than the bike. Her confessions were tremendous encouragement to this couch potato to get up. Being challenged is just part of it. The real strength is having the courage and conviction to face the challenge.
But, it can be done. There is no shame in the struggle. There is only shame in not taking the opportunity to get better when the opportunity is given. When God presents us with the challenge to get stronger in Him, He is fully prepared to meet our need and see us completely through it. But, we still have to choose to get up and move to it.
Beloved, whatever it is you've been challenged with in Christ, it's time to stand up, face it, and follow after the Holy Spirit. Provision has already been made. It may in fact challenge you. You may want to quit. But press on.
It's ok to feel like you're alone because then you can remind yourself that He said He would never leave us or forsake us and you'll feel His presence. It's ok to feel anxious and afraid because then you can remind yourself that He said He wouldn't leave us comfortless and you will be comforted. It's ok to feel like you don't have what you need to make it because He said that He would meet all our need and you will see provision.
Every challenge we face is just another opportunity for God to glorify Himself in our lives. So rejoice, and give praise. He's got this and He's got you.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Peace and victory.
Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website (www.youarechosen.net) includes a link to the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com) where you can find previous messages.
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