Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Compared to Knowing Christ...Everything else is a loss

So, I never thought of myself as a blogger – but while I am here, I hear so clearly from the Lord and want to share what I learned because I think it so valuable. What better way for me to do so than blogging and praying someone reads it :) The following is my heart for Thailand and for the lost…

I love my devotional. Smith Wigglesworth is, as Susie says, ‘an oldie but a goodie’.  Today was talking about Experiencing the Resurrection Power as stated in Phil 3. While this is a much quoted passage of scripture, I had never really dug into for myself. It is all about having no confidence in the flesh because the flesh leads you astray.  And over the past year I can definitely attest to that!

Philippians 3
1-3Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! …we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Jesus Christ, put no confidence in the flesh.

Easier said than done. It is only when I am humbled before the Lord that I realize my lowliness and am able to fully put my confidence solely in Him. While I feel like I have continuously stated throughout this blog ‘it is only when you are humbled before Christ’, I have been reminded so many times that humility must happen before we are able to truly praise Him and truly learn what He is trying to teach us. Without Christ, I would not be here. Without Him taking on every sin anyone has ever and will ever commit, none of us would be here but in Hell for eternity. And that itself destroys any pride, leaving only a humble spirit. Unfortunately humility doesn't last but slowly over time we go right back to putting confidence in our own flesh. When we begin to let our pride blind us from where we belong, that is when we get into trouble.

7-8But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage…

For those of you who don’t know Jesus Christ personally, I don’t know how to emphasize the beauty that lies in this verse.  Think of everything that you value – the things in life the mean the most to you and that make you the happiest…for me it is definitely my family; my incredible friends from Evangel, different camps and trips, and of course Hastings; the hopes of someday marrying an amazing man and having a family; working out and outward appearance; shopping, having a nice car or other nice new things; working hard and earning money; parties, having fun and laughing; my education and getting good grades; traveling; good food and quality coffee.  That’s probably much different from your list. BUT none of these even hold a candle to the joy that Jesus brings me! No significant other or family member or friend can offer the kind of love that Jesus does.

While it may seem silly or cliché to some of you to say that serving God is better than all of that – ask yourself this: do you really think I would choose to spend an entire semester in Thailand and then come back again this summer (my favorite time to spend on the lake, tanning, making lots of money, getting to go home and make memories with friends and family at home, etc.) UNLESS I THOUGHT THAT SERVING JESUS CHRIST IS THE MOST REWARDING AND IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE!! I come her with the hope of telling just one person about what this Phil 3:8 really means. I wish I could scream through a blog, ‘LISTEN CAREFULLY!’ because I promise, if you seek God with all your heart, mind and soul, you will find out exactly what I mean. There is nothing and no one that can bring as much joy and hope to your life as the message of salvation does.

that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his  death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Smith says it best, “Look at the tremendous power of God behind our inheritance. First, we are adopted; then we receive an inheritance; then we are made coheirs with Jesus. God touches our souls…Do you want God? Do you want fellowship in the Spirit? Do you want to walk with Him? Do you desire communion with Him? Because everything else is no good! You want an association with God, and God says, ‘I will come in and dine with you, and you with Me’ Rev 3:20”. While it is hard to imagine having a coffee date at Starbucks with Jesus, that is exactly what this verse says He wants (maybe not necessarily in Starbucks :)

If we have faith in Jesus Christ, then we no longer have to rely on ourselves to figure it all out. He gives us a purpose. Imagine going through life with no goals, nothing to look forward to! How much more rewarding and fulfilling is life when you have a ______________?:
-job that you really enjoy or feel that you are making a difference
-a sport that you get to train for and demonstrate your talent and hard work
-a class that you are really good at and enjoy studying for, and always do well in
-a family to support and make sacrifices for, knowing you are making a difference everyday
-anything that gives you purpose – that makes each day bearable

Well a relationship with God not only makes things bearable – but it brings joy in the worst of times, it brings life to dullest days, it restores relationships, it makes life worth living, and allows you to live it to the fullest. He will give you power to overcome, the same power of Christ’s resurrection! Folks, this is not some Sunday School story anymore, it is a real life story full of power and redemption! And I want you to know the God I serve because He alone surpasses even the greatest things in life. 

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