|I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.|
Paul says that his goal is to know Christ, to be like Christ, and to be all Christ has in mind for him. This goal absorbs all of Paul's energy. This is a helpful example for us.
We should not let anything take our eyes off our goal--knowing Christ. With the single-mindedness of an athlete in training, we must lay aside everything harmful and forsake anything that may distract us from being effective Christians. What is holding you back?Hosea 13:5 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
Yes, Lord, thou didst indeed know me in my fallen state, and thou didst even then choose me for thyself. When I was loathsome and self-abhorred, thou didst receive me as thy child, and thou didst satisfy my craving wants. Blessed forever be thy name for this free, rich, abounding mercy. Since then, my inward experience has often been a wilderness; but thou hast owned me still as thy beloved, and poured streams of love and grace into me to gladden me, and make me fruitful. Yea, when my outward circumstances have been at the worst, and I have wandered in a land of drought, thy sweet presence has solaced me. Men have not known me when scorn has awaited me, but thou hast known my soul in adversities, for no affliction dims the lustre of thy love. Most gracious Lord, I magnify thee for all thy faithfulness to me in trying circumstances, and I deplore that I should at any time have forgotten thee and been exalted in heart, when I have owed all to thy gentleness and love. Have mercy upon thy servant in this thing!
My soul, if Jesus thus acknowledged thee in thy low estate, be sure that thou own both himself and his cause now that thou art in thy prosperity. Be not lifted up by thy worldly successes so as to be ashamed of the truth or of the poor church with which thou hast been associated. Follow Jesus into the wilderness: bear the cross with him when the heat of persecution grows hot. He owned thee, O my soul, in thy poverty and shame--never be so treacherous as to be ashamed of him. O for more shame at the thought of being ashamed of my best Beloved! Jesus, my soul cleaveth to thee.
"I'll turn to thee in days of light,
As well as nights of care,
Thou brightest amid all that's bright!
Thou fairest of the fair!"
2 Samuel 7:25 "Now therefore, O LORD God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken,
Psalm 119:38,42,49,54,72,89,90 Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You. • So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. • Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope. • Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. • The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Yodh. • Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. • Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.
Hebrews 6:17-20 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, • so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. • This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, • where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
2 Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
New American Standard Bible Copyright ? 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. For Permission to Quote Information visit http://www.lockman.org.
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