Monday, July 14, 2008

Daily - 7/14/08

Philippians 3:8-16

8 More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ

9 and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith

10 to know him and the power of his resurrection and (the) sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,

11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12 It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ (Jesus).

13 Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead,

14 I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

15 Let us, then, who are "perfectly mature" adopt this attitude. And if you have a different attitude, this too God will reveal to you.

16 Only, with regard to what we have attained, continue on the same course.


I was speaking with someone about this search for spiritual maturity that I’ve been writing about lately. We discussed whether that life is fully attainable. My response was maybe not fully, but I can sure get farther along the road than I am now.

Later on I thought about the Philippians passage shown above, that discusses Paul’s search for the same thing. In several places he provides vivid descriptions of this higher level of faith, which he wouldn’t be able to do if he hadn’t experienced it himself. Yet even with all the riches of faith that he has experienced, he still sees that there is more out there for him. He’s seen enough to know that he wants it fully and completely. He says forget what lies behind, and keep up your pursuit of the goal. And he says that this attitude of pursuit is a sign of spiritual maturity.

PS - Here are some descriptions of the "abundant life" that I’ve provided in previous messages in the past month or so. This is far more than going to church every Sunday, working booths at the church picnic, and helping little old ladies across the street. This is a life where you have so much faith that you’re perfectly balanced between the lives in spirit and flesh, where you have no anxieties at all, where your prayer life becomes a pouring out of your heart to God.

· Philippians 4:6-7 - Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

· Ephesians 1:18-19 - May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might,

· Ephesians 3:16-19 … that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

· Ephesians 3: that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.