Sunday, January 3, 2010

Heaven or Bust, by Heidi Avery

“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. 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I love Paul’s story. You just know you’re welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven when you hear about Paul. He was a man who was firmly set in his beliefs and on his own path, searching out and persecuting Christians at every turn. Until the road to Damascus delivered him to his very own “come to Jesus” meeting. In a flash of light, he was transformed into one of our most powerful biblical examples of a man who was completely abandoned to Christ.

In Acts 9:15 Jesus says about Paul… “this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.” His life was completely interrupted, his plans shattered for the plans of the one he personally persecuted. It amazes me that Paul never looked back on what he had done against Christ before that moment on the road to Damascus. In fact as soon as the scales fell from his eyes the bible says he was baptized, ate, became strengthened, spent some time with the people of Damascus and promptly got down to Kingdom business.

Just like that, old life gone, new life embraced. No, question about who he once was, no guilt or worry about what he had once done. He committed his life to perfect relationship with Jesus and swift obedience resulted.

We’re a lot like Paul, some of us more than others in that we have a past that precedes our life with Jesus. We’ve thought things, done things and said things that cause us to wonder how we could possibly be “his chosen instrument” for anything. Even after professing my life to Christ I’ve been guilty of wrong thoughts that I carried out in deeds and words, sinning instead of confessing. I've questioned what he could possibly do with the likes of me. Well, I don’t know, but He does.

What I do know is whatever I’ve done against Christ will not get in the way of Him using me. He didn’t choose me because of anything I did or didn’t do. He chose me for what He intends to do in and through me.

My role? Simply, continue answering his call to pursue a deeper relationship with Him, producing effortless, fruitful obedience to Him. So, as this new year begins, I do not have a list of resolutions as the world dictates, but I do have a single goal and that is to “forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, to press on toward the goal to win the prize which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Romans clearly reminds us that we’ve been Elected (9:10-13), Justified (4:25; 5:18), Redeemed (3:24; 8:23) and that we sit in the very active process of being Sanctified (5:2; 15-16) until He comes and we are Glorified (8:18, 19, 30) and carried home to eternity in Heaven.

Father, continue to sanctify me, transform me, move me, use me for your perfect will. Don't let me forget that you chose me and that you forgave me and forgive me still. Keep my eyes from gazing backward and instead keep them focused on the prize... heavenward.

1 comment:

  1. That comforts me this morning. Just to know that our imperfections are made perfect by God's merciful hand. God sees in us something we cannot see in ourselves. I certainly feel unworthy to kneel at the foot of the cross much less be used as his instrument! But my feelings of unworthiness paves the way for my humble submission. I think God only uses me when I have completely humbled myslef before Him. It is so wonderful to know that the stain of sin can not only be removed but used for God's glorification! Love that super cute picture too!! Kelli