Philippians chapter three feels like a gauntlet thrown down with a challenge. “Will you run until you have finished the race?” it asks. And then we are shown how to respond to the call. Passion to go for what is ahead activates endurance for a journey that draws strength from Holy Spirit to cross the finish line.
“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.” [vs. 12-13]
There is a reward in running the adventure of faith; a crown of life (James 1:12, Rev. 2:10), a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4), a crown of rejoicing (1 Thess. 2:19), and a crown of righteousness (1 Tim. 4:8). And that is only the beginning.
For the last year or so, I have been fascinated with the challenge of becoming a bigger person and growing bigger people from my realm of influence. That vision starts with Ephesians 4:13.
The NAS says, “. . . till we all attain . . . to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Stature speaks of size and maturity. Fullness speaks of completion and perfection.
The Passion Translation says, “and finally we become one into a perfect man with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity and fully developed into the abundance of Christ.”
We, together, are destined to be powerful people, world changers and reformers through the influence of transformed lives. Growing into such enormity is found in verses 15 & 16; and I’m certain elsewhere.
“. . . speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (NKJV)
Faith, hope and love leads the way toward this end, along with encouragement from loving believers that surround us.
“Have you really rejected us, refusing to fight our battles? Give us a father’s help when we face our enemies. For to trust in any man is an empty hope. With God’s help we will fight like heroes and he will trample down every foe.” (Psalm 60:10-12, TPT)
Wherever personal spiritual victory is needed, our only hope is to allow Papa God to bring the inner battle to the surface where we will face our foe head-on. His freedom is fought in the light of spiritual realities and permanent transformation of our inner being. A father’s help establishes true identity in sonship and daughterhood with the design for a relationship of continual intimacy that is life-giving for ourselves and all those in our sphere of influence. We are powerful people; heroes of faith, hope and love. With his help, we can’t fail.
“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness (dedicated, consecrated), experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” (Romans 12:1-2, TPT)
At the heart of reformation is the pursuit of transformation. It’s a response to Papa’s mercy and grace as an authentic ministry to him in worship. What pleases him is becoming what pleases and satisfies us as adopted sons. We surrender our lives for his in the greatest exchange anyone could ever experience.
“I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us. The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters.” (Rom. 8:18-19, TPT)
Apocalypse has been redefined by the world as cataclysmic destruction; a season of unprecedented evil events. The truth of the Greek word is a revealing, a disclosure and unveiling. While the world has been duped into waiting for destruction, creation is waiting for glory.
Papa’s desire is to put us on glorious display for all of creation to experience. Glorious is doxa in Greek and kavod in Hebrew. It means splendor, brightness, amazing might and honor. All creation is waiting in eager expectation for our unveiling. The transformation Papa is working in us is for his glory. Embrace it, own it, it’s a now identity.
In first Kings nine, the Lord responds to Solomon after he finished building the temple. “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”
Think about it. We are now a temple made without hands. We have been anointed to be a habitation for the creator of all things. Yahweh has set his eyes and his heart within us. We have the capacity to see how he sees and experience his heart.
Ephesians 1:18-23 speaks about how Jesus was raised from the dead and raised to a seat of great power at the right hand of God. The power and authority he received was for our benefit. But, it doesn’t stop there. Chapter 2, verse 6 says this in the Amplified: “And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” Paul calls it “immeasurable riches.” It’s a royal blessing to be in his house and share in the expansion of his Kingdom.
I love Romans. It has the unique distinction of being both complex and simple. If one drills down through its complexity, the simplicity can be realized. Romans four is one example. The very last verse states, “Jesus was handed over to be crucified for the forgiveness of sins and raised back to life to prove that he made us right with God!” (TPT) It’s that simple.
We cannot be punished for violations of rules that were nailed to a cross (vs. 15). We cannot work for a higher level of righteousness when we’ve been given the highest level of right standing with God there is. We cannot incrementally lose what has been completely and freely given.
Then where’s the complexity? Faith. When earning any aspect of the promises of God becomes a part of our thinking, faith loses its power. Abraham believed (key word) the promise and expected (key word) God to fulfill it. He took God at his word. He never stopped believing God’s promise. We cannot fulfill promises that God has given us.
Like Abraham, we can stay the course; walk where he leads. Keep it simple. Keep believing and never give up. He said he would bring his promises to pass.