small group studies
“Almighty God, in this hour of quiet I seek communion with you. I want to turn away from the worry and fever of today’s work, from the world’s jarring noises, from the praise and blame of other people, from the confused thoughts and fantasies of my own heart, and instead seek the quietness of your presence.”- John Baillie
As I sat in bed this morning, I read these words. They interupted my routine of my normal mundane Sunday morning- praise music, bibles, and an outward time of prayer before church….Just wow. If only we could all take it here every day.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God, Christ Jesus. Let those who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” Philippians 3:12-16
Paul says look guys, I’m not standing up here speaking to you like this because I’ve got it all figured out. I know I am not perfect, but I am trying. I press on.
I think it is important for us all to realize that even though Christ’s work for us is perfect, The Holy Spirit inside is us is not perfect. It’s progressive. Everyday as we are worked on more and more, His presence over our lives increases and consequentially our decisions are also cultivated more according to His will and purpose.
but Paul pressed.
1st Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Press, Fight, Take Hold.
Verbage, y’all. These are actions. I think people think that Christianity is a passive religion that advocates waiting for God to act, to reveal things, make better things, fix things all while we just sit.
Be still and know, right?
And how do you think you may know God? Seek and find, knock and I will answer, listen and obey. What are all of these things? They are all instructions from Jesus, himself, and are all a call for action.
This is not a spectators sport, guys. It’s actually not a sport at all. This isn’t a game. While we are not children anymore, this is also greater than our adult life- it’s life life- the always life, forever life, the life were choosing in our insignificant lives, in these inconsequential details or these tiny years that will feel like days when they’re standing next to our eternity, y’all, what we do, or don’t do RIGHT NOW, is forever.
Forever and it’s like sometimes we are just sitting, waiting, and for what? It’s storming right past us. Our time is so small here. Of all the promises were offered as Christians from our Father, time here is not one of them. There is absolutely absolutely no time for passivity.
Press on, Fight, Take hold of…. and then don’t look back Paul says.
As Chrisitans we’ve all asked for a new life at some point right? and what is a new life when we’re not living renewed? It’s wasted blood, and while the blood is limitless and unending- it’s not any less sacred.
I laughed once to myself when my husband and I moved into our first home as a family of seven. His nana bought us plastic placemats because she just couldn’t stand the thought of my new ones getting dirty…
I laughed because I had never bought anything with the intentions of not using it. I’m also realistic. Five kids and one spaghetti Tuesday and of course the newness is gone… but I still wanted them used.. even stained they would be beautiful.
I’m no different. I want to be used, my life. I want it worn and obviously tattered and worked for a cause- not one like protecting a table from spaghetti, but one that helps protect souls.
I didn’t name this ministry Mess and Mercy for nothing.
Messy means unperfect, frayed, and sometimes even convoluted. It’s a place of stains, of shadow, and of error and then there’s mercy… the place of freedom from all of those things.
Don’t look back.
Luke 9 verse 62 says this: “Jesus replied, ” no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of Christ.”
God says anyone can come, but no one need look back. You cannot live an old life of intentional sin and claim a new one.
To grab hold of a plow for straight rows, only to look back while driving forward, does nothing but set yourself up for failure. It is trying enough to walk a path of purposeful precision while keeping your eye on the destination, let alone walk towards it without any visibility of the terminus.
We can’t get there looking the wrong way, and we can’t get there just looking.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
You see? It’s more than a prayer. It’s a belief so deep, a love and relationship so deep, that is compels us forward, upward, Paul said, into change, into action towards the life to which we were called.
and if you believe otherwise- if you believe it takes less than that- Paul said God would will reveal that also to you.
“Only let us hold on to what we have obtained.” v.16 NLT
Press on, fight, take hold… don’t look back, not at the mistakes of your past, and not at anything behind you, but should you find yourself in error, back engulfed in sin, when your new placemat finds it’s first stain since it’s new purchase, then we have to hold on to what we have been given- Mercy in our Messes– dust off and continue forward into action. I’ve never known a washing machine to clean up anything with the help of detergent without a little spin and work of its own. Jesus’s gift is even more purifying, but the only thing worse than spilled milk is wasted blood.