"Not that I have already obtained this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Philippians 3:12 NIV
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P2086 His love comes in different forms.
We will do ourselves and other people around us great harm when we refuse to partake of God’s kingdom. The old life, and the new life in Christ, means one needs to decrease while the other increases. Change is now our middle name - otherwise we can end up at war with others as well as ourselves. The Christian life is one of progression. Um… that’s why the Lord told us to kill the old life off! FYI we will be in this awkward process for a lo-ong while. Gird up your girdle Gertie - it’s gunna be a bumpy ride.
My point is that we all have our own place in God’s plan for this world. Unfortunately, we can easily grow comfortable within some of the roles we have already assigned to ourselves. God performs internal surgery, with our co-operation, and rarely gives a 'coming ready or not' warning! Stuff just happens! It is safe to say that we should expect any interruption to our ideas and plans at any given moment. “Surprise!” 😳 is His middle name.
We can often resist what He wants to do because we think that this person that we see in the mirror, the person we have always known, is who we really are.Jesus knows who we really are. And He will not just get patched into an existing system because: 'behold the old has passed away and the new has come.'The Lord's whole laid-down life among us was given to change man's systems, and destination, so we could complete the Father’s assignments here on earth. 'There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is death.'That isn’t just a scripture BTW, it’s a TRUTH.
All our extraneous stuff needs to go to the foot of the cross, and we don’t get to decide which bit dies and which doesn’t - HE DOES. The Lord Jesus has work for us to do, and our choices or even other people’s assigned roles, are fruitless time-consuming endeavours. We must choose to continually allow Him to transform us from the things of our past - even those adult or parental assigned pre-determined roles. It’s time to 'man-up' and let Him.
Our whole new life is IN HIM now. Sadly, we may not even know we are doing this role playing. I’ve noticed that many people ‘cast’ themselves in ungodly roles, which are inadvertently based on their life experiences, not the bible. What follows is not a comprehensive list.
Some people see themselves permanently as victims. These people do not feel comfortable unless they live inside the “everybody is against me and I’m so helpless” role. We all know that satan is totally out to get everybody, but unfortunately there are also people who have an inverted sense of their own importance. This person will assign the role of aggressor or suppressor to someone else close to them. They refuse to draw boundaries and maintain them, then they blame other people for bullying them. This POV becomes a filter that they see their lives through and they act accordingly.
Other people see themselves as rescuers. They cannot see a difficulty in someone else’s life without feeling like: “there must be something I can do about that” and off they go on their rescue mission. ‘Boldly going where nobody else had any desire to go before!’ 🖖 Other people see themselves as heroes. Heroes BTW, are different from rescuers - rescuers think of what they do as ‘helping people,' but heroes won’t allow anybody else any credit in their little story. Their motto is: "My story is about me.”🎖Whoops. Not any more it ain’t.
Jesus is always the solution. His new life inside us is our redemption! At the same time we need to bend our knee, and constantly remind ourselves that what we think we know is not all there is. Transformation is a difficult process, let’s not get in our own way by deciding that we know what is best for us. It has taken me a lifetime to learn that the love we think we need won’t always come to us in a form that we find acceptable. And that statement includes HIS LOVE because the Lord’s love will definitely include discipline!
We may think we need nice, kind, supportive people - but Almighty God sends unruly, non-biddable people who are so self-involved they don’t even have a whiff of kindness in them. They irritate the living daylights out of us - and provoke us all the time. This means we are confronted with our true selves - and there is no point in blaming someone else. Everything in this life depends on how we view it - either through the lens of His loving opportunities, or through the lens of our past preconceived ideas. We need to cherish love in whatever form the Lord sends to us and let it do us good - we can’t afford to be picky. Bye.👋🏻
ps Obviously we need to weed out people who want to love on us with a cricket bat!
P2087 Worship is not what we sometimes think it is.
Some of us might think that worship is only about singing beautiful songs to the Lord, passionately, whenever we can. If we leave our worship to only doing that, then we are cheating the Lord out of the sort of worship He is expecting and HE deserves it!“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1
I am not saying we should not passionately worship - I am saying our singing should be followed up with ACTION. Just FYI, we cannot change our minds by ourselves instead we need to live our lives open to transformation and new ways of thinking and doing. We all want His perfect will - but the way to get that is to live our lives dead to self and alive to His will, His way. This is an active co-operative thing - not an inactive passive one. It is not about just agreeing with what the bible says, it is about discovering stuff we didn't know and we aren't doing! With His help. Living life His way. We take the faith steps and He empowers us as we take them.
It is comparatively easy to hand our troubles and difficulties over to the Lord, and not stop to recognise the fact that He has put someone or some circumstances into our lives for us to practice on. We learn co-operation by co-operating, not by abstinence and/or blaming Him for not helping us. If we don’t live like this, we WILL harden our hearts. The Holy Spirit loves to help us, but we must first step out and take those first steps, and then set our faces to follow them up. Otherwise we are testing the Lord and making Him responsible to change our mind and attitudes. He is not looking for us to try - He is looking for us to persevere by faith until we are transformed.That’s what grows our faith. Anything else is called avoidance.
By all means hand things over to Him, but then we need to keep our eyes spiritually open for any and all opportunities He will send us. That’s the moment we've started to worship by presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice. Don’t wait for a sign to learn obedience, remember, the Lord Jesus learnt obedience through suffering - and so will we. Ya might want to sit and think a whole lot on that one! 🧐
You know we give our bodies to our spouses, so we can become ONE flesh - if and when we get married. Well, one day quite soon we are going to marry Jesus. This means we need to take advantage of every single day we are given on this earth, to give our bodies to Him for His purposes. This is true worship and it puts us firmly into the arena of learning, PLUS transformation. Everything that comes along no matter how big or small, gives us an opportunity to examine ourselves, our responses and repent. There is a temptation in those times to monitor other people’s responses, but we are responsible for ourselves - so we use the opportunities He sends us, to surrender and yield even more.
Worship is about giving Him His true worth.Giving Him His worth is far more about the way we live, than it is singing passionately Sunday by Sunday. Human beings are capable of fudging passion, and many of us enjoy this sort of Sunday singing anyway. The rubber hits the road when we realise that true worship is about how we live from Monday back through to the next Sunday. It’s about how we regard His instructions. Do we selectively listen, and then discard the things that don’t suit us? Or do we take everything we are aware of - to heart? Jesus didn’t DO down time - He was always about His Father’s business… presenting our bodies means that our time is His time.
Jesus paid an incredibly dear price for us to stand about and hum and haw and debate about whether we should obey this scripture or that scripture - or not. The whole point is our bodies now belong to Him, we were bought and paid for. But our Heavenly Father gave us choice as a gift, a part of the freedom Christ died to give us. A freely given gift of obedience contains sacrifice. This gift was not meant to be optional, selective, or even debated. Jesus didn't debate about fulfilling HIS END - He simply exchanged His life for ours.
That’s what true worship is - a love so deep, so filled with gratitude that whatever Jesus wants, I want. The amazing thing is, when I do what HE wants, I’ve found that I have way more fun than when I do my own thing. Let us not limit ourselves and end up negating our potential. I will admit that the things He asks us to do can sometimes terrify us. When I look back at some of the stuff He has asked me to do I can’t believe I actually did it! I know, that in myself, I am a coward. My need for comfort outweighs my need to love Him the way He deserves. But He has not given up on anyone of us. Worship is not just singing, it is the way we live as laid-down lovers of Jesus. 👋🏻