EarthBasic. Take care. Bless many.
Every good runner knows that speed is insufficient to guarantee success in a race. Even those whose bodies are well trained for victory, will fall short of it if their minds are weak. This is why a field of study, i.e. sports psychology, exists: to consider and provide the kind of insight necessary for a runner to be built (from the inside out) for success. In our focus Scripture, the Apostle Paul operates as our "sports psychologist": providing us with insights to support our spiritual development and successful completion of the Good Race.
Insight #1: Forget What Lies Behind
We enter the Good Race as a new creation. God does away with the old person and makes us new in Christ Jesus. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and walk in and after the light. We become a people whose hearts are bent towards God. However, we remember. We remember the folly of our old lives. And in our waking days, months, years, as new creations, we struggle. We struggle to reconcile who we remember being, with who God says we are. It is an impossible situation. Impossible because the old and new cannot be reconciled: they are oppositional in nature. And that's why God kills the old and gives us a brand new life! The first step towards being built from the inside out is to put on the new self.
Read: Ephesians 4: 17 - 32.
Our folly is not all we must forget to ensure success. We must also forget the high points of our yesterdays in Christ. While, it is good to remember God's faithfulness, it is not good to use past victories as a means to rationalize complacency. If not held properly, we can build mini-monuments of our past victories, stalling our forward momentum towards God's preferred future for us. We must remember and hunger for righteousness still.
Insight #2: Reach for What Lies Ahead
We forget because it is necessary to let go of former things in order to take hold of the new thing God is accomplishing in our and through our lives. It is God's will that we work out our salvation: taking seriously our call to daily holiness and the sanctifying work of His Spirit dwelling within us. We are to press towards the call of being a people who clearly bear the image of Jesus.
We are to reach in humility, knowing that there is more. Knowing that we have not yet arrived, but are in process. We are to reach by faith, knowing that God will not put beyond our grasps what He has purposed for us in Christ Jesus. Knowing that Jesus Himself will make the work complete at His appearing.
Insight #3: Follow the Example of Those Who are Citizens of Heaven
We are to seek godly examples. We are to pattern ourselves on those whose minds are not set on earthly things, but knowing that they belong to God's kingdom have their thoughts fixed on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8). Those whose minds are renewed daily through the washing of the Word and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. (Philippians 1:4 - 6 and Romans 12:1 - 2). We are to benefit from the edifying nature of Christ-centered community. (Proverbs 27:17). And surely we have in Jesus Christ the ultimate mold-the One in whom all worthwhile models are fashioned. (Hebrews 6:19 - 20).
Insight #4: Eagerly Await the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ
We prepare for His arrival. We make room for Him, so that at His appearing He will not find His holy dwelling cluttered with earthly and perishable things-clinging to what He has purposed to be reborn. We clean the house. Set the table. Invite His presence. Sit in His presence. Feast on His Word as Mary did while sitting at His feet-silently and in humble reverence. We repeat, growing not weary in our well-doing because we expect we shall not be put to shame. (Galatians 6:9). We know He is not slow. Instead, He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish. (2 Peter 3:9). Though He seems to tarry, we know He is coming soon. May He find us expectant: faithfully awaiting His appearing. (Revelation 22:6-21).
Read: Luke 12:35 - 48.
As Be-Held Women we believe that true self-care is accomplished in a lifestyle of intimacy with Jesus Christ. We take care by drawing near to God through seeking and living the truth of God’s Word, by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. We are confident that in living the truth by His Holy Spirit we will be transformed into women who bear the image of Jesus Christ in spirit, soul and body-women who are empowered to bless many. Dear Be-Held Woman, seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God's Word, we offer you this Bible study guide to support you in your endeavors! Apply it to this week's Scripture readings.
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. She leads the Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.