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Cross Pointe Blog

Forgetful and Focused

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One of the first lessons we learn as children is to always watch where we are going.  It’s dangerous not to.  The same is true spiritually. 

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”  Philippians 3:13

Have you ever tried to run forward while looking backward?  If so, you likely fell down or bumped into something.  One of the first lessons we learn as children is to always watch where we are going.  It’s dangerous not to.  The same is true spiritually. 

 While our eyes cannot see Jesus, our hearts can.  The problem is that our minds try to hijack our hearts, pulling us towards past mistakes, disappointments, betrayals and failed attempts.  The flesh whispers, “What’s the use?” into the ears of the heart, tempting us to give up and settle for a mediocre and ineffective relationship with Christ…robbing us of the abundant life that is ours in Christ.

But God reminds us through Paul’s letter to the Philippians that giving up is not an option.  Have we failed in the past?  Of course we have.  We have messed up and broken promises and said one thing and done another…but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.  We have a risen Savior who has given us the power and the opportunity to repent and do things differently.  He became sin and tasted death for us, conquering both when He rose from the grave. In Him there is always hope!

 “Repent” means to turn from one thing to another…from sin to Jesus Christ.  Paul says he forgets the past and strains towards the future.  If you are stuck in the past, it is time to turn the eyes of your heart forward and let go in faith.  Focus on God’s goodness and grace.  If there is unconfessed sin in your past, repent and turn to Jesus.

I truly believe that if we could see into the spiritual realm…if we could see what lies ahead for us in Christ, forgetting the past and focusing on the prize would not be hard at all. But since we cannot see with physical eyes, we must trust the Word of God and the promises contained in it.  We don’t have to fear the past or the future. After all, we are running in, through, for, and towards the One who holds all things together.   

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross.  I know that without the shedding of Your blood my sins could not be forgiven.  Because I have forgiveness, I am able to let go of past mistakes, hurts and disappointments. Help me to remember today that my hope is in You alone.  It is in Your name I pray.  Amen. 

Pressing On

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Jesus is not part of a Christian’s life – He is the Christian’s life.  There is a huge difference in the two.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”  Philippians 3:12

We have entered the season of resolutions, goals, and new strategies and plans.  Every church building and gym in America will likely be full for the next few weeks.  Fresh starts feel good, don’t they?  But how much lasting change will take place in the coming year?  How many goals will be reached or even steadfastly pursued? Most of us are quite good at starting…but finishing is all that counts.  Somewhere between the starting gun and the finish line, the newness wears off and reality sets in and it is so easy to give up. 

Is your walk with Christ any different?  I hope so! A relationship with the God of the universe should not be one of many priorities.  He is not a slot on a calendar or an item on a to-do list. Following Him does not take place in a couple of hours each Sunday.  Jesus is not part of a Christian’s life – He is the Christian’s life.  There is a huge difference in the two.  The Apostle Paul understood this difference.

The phrase Paul used to describe his relationship with Christ was, “I press on.”  This phrase doesn’t merely mean to follow or run, but a heated pursuit.  It means to run after something as if to chase it.  Do you remember playing the game of “Chase” as a child?  Someone always had to be “it.”  That person had to chase someone until he caught him.  In Philippians 3, Paul is declaring himself “it” as he chases after Christ.

What is interesting about this metaphor is that through faith, Paul already “has” Jesus, doesn’t he? So why run so hard after Someone you already believe in and have a relationship with?  What is it Paul is pressing on to take hold of if he is already saved?  I am going to let you ponder that question on your own.  Later this week as we continue in Philippians 3 I think God will answer that question for us.

Are you pressing on after Jesus with all your heart?  Let 2013 be the year that you not only start well, but also finish strong.  Make this the year that you chase after Jesus with full abandon and steadfast faith. 

PRAYER

Holy Father, What peace I have knowing that I don’t have to be perfect, just persistent.  Please help me to press on in You today, through all of the noise, distractions and temptations that surround me.  Draw me nearer to Your heart so that I may glorify Your Name today.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.