“Frequently in our attempt to achieve Pentecost we bypass Calvary.…Here is the spiritual principle: die, and then bear fruit.” — Watchman Nee, The Messenger of the Cross
Let’s kick off this week by taking one more look at what Jesus has already done in our lives — because the more we realize what Jesus has done, the more we realize how much He still wants to do. And let’s get scriptural as we do it:
“Not that I have already attained this — that is, I have not already been perfected — but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are ‘perfect’ embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways.
“Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained. Be imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and watch carefully those who are living this way, just as you have us as an example.” — Philippians 3:12-17 (NET)
What’s one area of your life in which you could honestly encourage others to “be imitators of me”? (No false humility here—take time to be thankful for what Jesus has already done in your life.) How does dwelling on your past affect your ability to “strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”?
In this passage , Paul describes a race that we were meant to run for a lifetime. The good news is not only that God is calling us to reach the prize, but also that we have Jesus to coach us the entire way. With Jesus’ help, we can reach the goal he’s set before us.
Let’s jump back one chapter in Philippians, and read chapter 2, verses 5-8 (NLT). I want to present the passage a little differently today, so you can listen for the connections between what Jesus has done and how God wants us to respond. As you read this, take time to think and reflect. Time for you to connect with God. Ready? Let’s do this:
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…[who] did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.” In what ways do you still insist on doing things your own way instead of God’s way?
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…[who] gave up his divine privileges.” How have you allowed yourself to feel superior to others, simply because you’re a Christian?
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…[who] took the humble position of a slave.”
Who in particular have you refused to serve, whether you’ve openly rebelled against them or quietly avoided them? Picture that person.
When was the last time you claimed glory for yourself rather than giving it to God?
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…[who] humbled himself in obedience to God.” What areas of your life have you not yet really submitted to God? What would it look like if you did?
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…[who] died a criminal’s death on a cross.” When do you still insist on defending your reputation, rather than trusting God and allowing Him to defend you?
So what did God show you during this time of listening? Ask God to elaborate on it. Then share it with someone else. Listen to that person’s story. By bringing our “stuff” out into the light, we give Jesus an opportunity to change us eternally. We also give others permission to keep us accountable and to support us as we continue to pursue God together. So make it happen. Today.