"I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." - Philippians 3:12-14 NLT
Thoughts for Today
Many people begin the Christian life with excitement, expecting that everything will be different immediately! They think that they will not have any desire to walk in the negative patterns they used to enjoy … but that is just not the way it works.
Becoming a Christian means you are forgiven—not perfect. Receiving Jesus is not a "quick fix" for old habits and their consequences. Change takes time, and we can't rely on ourselves to make these changes. If we try to transform ourselves, we will always be disappointed. Transformation can only take place as we build our relationship with God by spending quality time with him praying and studying the Bible.
Consider this …
Are you a new Christian and still struggling with old habits and their consequences? Or maybe you have been a Christian a long time but things from your past seem to be pressing in on you.
Perhaps you have tried and tried to overcome, but nothing seems to work. You might feel like a failure. You've let yourself, others and God down time and time again.
This is not the time to give up and run from God, ashamed and embarrassed. Instead, run to him. Ask for his forgiveness and his help. Follow the apostle Paul's example. He knew he hadn't achieved perfection, but he put the past behind and pressed on—focusing on becoming and doing all God had called him to. Learn from your past, leave it behind … and press on.
Father, I thank you for continuing to love me, even when I let you down. Forgive me for all those times. Help me to learn from past mistakes, but not to dwell on them. Help me to look ahead and to press on to become all you have designed me to be and to accomplish the purpose of my journey. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …Completely Free! A Group Study of Romans 1-8 by Dan Strickland. Everyone struggles from time-to-time, but we can have confidence that in Christ we are completely free from sin's slavery, from condemnation, and from fear of failure. This group study of Romans 1-8 and 12 helps Christians break out of the dull routine of a stagnant spiritual life. Applying the truths found in Romans can transform any believer into a person eager to follow God's will. This study can also serve as a powerful evangelistic tool by explaining the message of salvation as presented in Romans. Suggested uses include home Bible studies, cell groups, Sunday school classes, support groups and personal enrichment.
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