Paul's Joy and My Saving Grace

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Philippians 3:2-6

For the first 15 years of my life, I thought I was great, a model Christian. Hmph. I was judgmental and hypocritical.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:7-11

At age 15 I began experimenting with things that I knew would be harmful to me. For the next two years, I struggled with an addiction that I hid from my family, my friends, and my God. I wanted to quit, but I was incapable. I didn't have the power. I was dead. Then Christ resurrected me and vested me with the power to overcome. I confessed my sin to Him, to my parents, and even to the president of Cornerstone University because I was violating the lifestyle covenant I signed as a student. I received some counseling, and over the next few years I healed, by the grace and power of God.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus 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 in Christ Jesus. Let those of us 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

I didn't understand grace until that moment I confessed my sin. I received so much forgiveness from God, my parents, and Joe Stowell. It was an overwhelming flood of grace. When I think about it, I just want to run around with a giant bucket full of grace and pour it out on everybody. It's so hard to keep that mindset, though.

I still battle self-righteousness, which is of the devil, but I live in grace now, the grace of God for me and for those around me who sin against me or others. I press on to make the prize of Christ-likeness my own because He made me His own. There is nothing and no one more beautiful than Christ when you've been forgiven much, no one I'd rather emulate.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3:17-21

It is easy to focus on earthly things because that is what is tangibly present around us all the time. But when you wake up each morning with the mindset, "This is not my home," you begin longing and pining for that place where you will be fully realized, fully alive, fully you. Home. Grace is the only thing that brings us Home.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.

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