Saturday, May 30, 2015

Becoming the Living Word of God by Faith


As I have shared earlier in the year, I am memorizing scripture. The method I am using is actually working for the first time. I joined a group online called SSMT, and we committed to memorize one verse every two weeks. I even participated in making this nice index card notebook complete with cover and all. So what has happened? The word has become more available to me and is becoming alive in me.

I have finished the second week in Living Free and combined its review with the group of scriptures in Philippians 3 that I have been memorizing.  As part of solidifying it in me and helping me make sense of it all, I decided to share it here.

Paul starts with a warning to the Philippians to watch out for those who try to teach them to live by their own righteousness.  (Even some who mutilate the flesh to conform and beat the flesh into submission and obedience to the law.) He then list the multiple reasons he has for having confidence in his flesh.  He talks about how he kept the letter of the law.

Then he gets to verse 7 & 8 where he tells them that ALL of his works he counts as garbage, refuse, & filth so that he may gain Christ. Keep in mind he is counting all of his self-righteousness also as filth.

He desires to know and be found in Christ Jesus his Lord.  He says that he wants to be found in Christ not having a righteous of His own, but one that is through faith in Christ – which is a righteousness from God based on faith.  His goal is to KNOW Christ, to KNOW His resurrection power, to fellowship in His suffering and to be conformed to His death.

He notes that he has not fully reached the goal or is already mature, but he makes every effort to take hold of it because he has been taken hold of by Christ.  Although he hasn’t taken hold of it, he forgets all the past (good and bad – shame and accomplishments) and reaches forward to the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

He says that all who are mature should think this way.  However, if any of them think differently, God will let them know. So they need to live up to the truths they have attained (reached or grasped).  They need to follow in his example.

Therefore, our right standing with God is not determined by our effort, work and determination; it is simply through faith in God's completed work through Jesus available to us by His Holy Spirit. It is through believing that God made a way for us to fellowship with Him, and that way is believing what He says about Jesus, about us and about everything. We are made right by our belief and saved by our verbal confession of this belief that He is our Lord (Rom 10:10). Oh that we would remember it is that simple. Believe and confess. 
(We strive for the wrong thing - often times we strive to become what we already are -  instead we should simply strive to know Him)

We spend so much time working for Him, and He wants and desires to just work with us and through us.  Why, because He desires fellowship, friendship, relationship, closeness with us. He wants to talk to us, and He wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to KNOW Him intimately. He also wants to use us as His instruments of righteousness so that the world will know Him, believe Him, enter into a relationship with Him and so on and so on...

Sin interferes with our ability to fellowship with Him. We need to deal with our sin because sin interrupts our connection with God. It interrupts our ability to be used by God in a world that is in desperate need of Him and His mighty hand; which is us.

We do not need to pursue right standing with God because we have that when we believe! Rather, we need to strive to take hold of the prize promised by God in Christ. The prize of knowing Him. The goal of becoming His glorious masterpiece when we walk CLOSELY with Him, pursue HIM, resemble Him. The end result is that we become the very glory, reflection, image and manifestation of Christ to the world. We then are able to be satisfied in all situations. We are able to enter into a peace that passes all understanding regardless of our circumstances which provides us much needed rest.  We can truly enjoy His Presence in our lives. His presences is the Holy Spirit which brings to life the entire Word of God in us over the course of our lives.

Note that Paul says to live up to whatever truth you have attained. I believe as we mature and grow up in our salvation, we live out more and more of the Word, not through determination of the will, but through the enabling power of God in us, equipping us through the Holy Spirit. (That enabling power in us is the RESURRECTION POWER- the power it takes to bring back to life that which was dead is equipping us and maturing us!!!  AMEN! Hallelujah! That should make us all shout for joy)

We develop a close relationship with God by His Holy Spirit. That closeness begins to produce in us the fulfillment of the law. (Not by our effort, but by His.)

When we see we fall short of whatever truth we have attained, note to self: Walk closely with God. We should ask Him to help us live up to this truth. 

The revelation that we fall short of whatever truth is made known to us, may be an indicator that we have quenched His Spirit by our actions (sin). We just need to confess and repent. Which simply put is to agree with God that our actions are offensive to Him and stop the action.
 
All of this is simple, it is just hard!!!!
Just like digging a hole is a simple task, it is just hard work!!!
But if you need the hole the hard work is worth it.
This is true of knowing Christ Jesus, the effort it takes is worth it.  The value of knowing Christ is priceless!

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