Saturday, January 17, 2009

By ANY Means Possible

Phil. 3:7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

When we are faced with losing anything of value, one of our children, a spouse, a parent or our earthly possessions, it is at this time we will find out what the value is in our eyes. All of these things can be difficult to lose, but it much easier when we recognize that they are God's to do with as He chooses and we are just to be good stewards of those things that He has entrusted to us, while He is still entrusting them to us.

Paul's grasp on this was profound, because God had given him a glimpse of Heaven. This made it easier to run hard after the prize, but he yearned to be in Heaven, rather than here on earth. To know the surpassing worth of Christ is a God granted understanding; an understanding that we should be asking Him for everyday. Until He gives us the correct value system, we will be running after the wrong things and laboring for things that are going to fade.

Having righteousness is also something we can't have, nor would we even want, on our own. But, if we ask God for righteous desires, and ask Him to enable us to see our sin for what it truly is, then we will grow in our hatred of sin, through His power, and the fight will be in His strength, not our own.

It is interesting to me that Paul's ultimate goal, in all this, is to be like Christ, in His death, and to suffer with Christ so he could be raised with Christ. If you asked most people their highest goal, I don't think they would say "death and suffering". Paul understood that to be finished with the race and thus gain the prize, he had to suffer where Christ had suffered and that in the end he would receive the prize of eternal life with the Savior.

I have been thinking about the battle against sin this morning. I can't imagine the energy one would exert in a battle, like the ones on Lord of the Rings, for even for 15 minutes, let alone for hours and days. When you get hungry and tired the sword gets heavier and if you let the sword down at the wrong time, your battle is over. In my battle against sin, I have previously been thinking too much of a battle like we see today, where people sit in vehicles or airplanes. I don't think this is a good picture of our type of battle against sin. Battling sin is tiring, but if I take off my armor and rest for even a minute, sin will over take me and the battle may be over.

We have a Savior who is waiting to defend us in our weakness, to fight the battle for us, to be our "weapon of mass destruction" against the rulers of this dark world. He is our Hero and He wants to put us on His back and carry us through the battle field. But for some reason, I too often, want to wage the war on my own.

Triumphant Savior, I want to trust and depend on You every minute of every day in my battle against sin. I am weak, tired and worn out from the battle. I don't want to war it alone, as I will be crushed, but I need you to strengthen and enable me to fight. You are the Great General who is my Hope and Defender in midst of arrows flying and thunderous horses rushing past me. I can trust and fight when you are near, but I quickly forget who is fighting for me, I lose sight of You and then start to wonder if I am able to stand. Bolster my faith, by giving me a clear sight line to You. Give me a confidence in You that can't be shaken, even as the battle grows hotter. On my own I have no strength, but in You I am strong.

Thank you Lord for being the Fortress we can escape from the battle and hide inside when the battle gets to hard. I want to be running and hiding in You.

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