In the message “The Rock of Obedience” we considered our call to hear His words AND to “put them into practice” (Matthew 7:24). In fact, we saw that obedience to His Word is an indicator of our eternal position in Christ; “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands” (1 John 2:3).
Salvation is a work of the Spirit, a “circumcision of the heart” (Romans 2:29), for those who truly believe in Jesus Christ. This miraculous work of the Spirit will always cause a change and will always produce fruit. However, we must balance this truth with the understanding that spiritual change is a transformation which is sometimes painfully slow. Each new creation in Christ is given the Holy Spirit as a guide, but we will spend the rest of our life learning who we really are in Christ and how to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
Even Paul recognized his spiritual maturity was not complete. He had the unique opportunity to receive truths and understanding directly from God; “this is what we speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:13), but Paul still fell short of God’s glory and had to strive to reach the place Christ desired.
“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
Paul knew the goal of his life was to bring glory and honor to God by living in the fullness and power of the resurrection. He knew he was to live a submitted life as one who was born “into an inheritance that can never perish” (1 Peter 1:3-4). But he also knew he had not fully attained this goal.
At the moment of salvation, Jesus “took hold” of our life. Every single day we are given a new opportunity to pick up the pieces and bring Him glory and honor in ALL we do as we “press on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:14). We only arrive at the goal when we are called Home and see Him face to face, when we are fully “transformed into His likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18). But until that time, we are to press forward in the obedience of worship, holiness, and eternal priorities.
No matter how difficult our current circumstances, how terrible our past mistakes or how seemingly hopeless our future, the only step under consideration is our very next. We must begin today to live as a new creation in Christ who desires to step in obedience and glorify His name. Then, we must continue to walk through a lifetime of transformation.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
By Steve Troxel