The past two Sundays Wes Raley gave the sermon at our church. His latest message resonated with my place in life at this moment. He spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven existing now. Right now, not at some point in the chronological future. We are called to be in tune to the indwelling Spirit’s urgings – to His whispers – and live the prosperous future God plans for us in the here and now.
We are good at paying attention to our own desires. We focus inward, but often miss the true words that exist there. The ones given by our Savior through the Spirit. We lock them up, ignore them, convince ourselves we didn’t actually hear them, or that they weren’t really for us.
When we invite Jesus into our hearts, we become new creations. Our old selves and our old ways become former. We are to forget them – leave them behind –allow our new master to sever the chains that link us to our old ways. We must follow the new path through the wilderness He has made for us.
18 “Forget the former things;Isaiah 43:18-19 via Bible Gateway
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The challenge often lies in refusing to turn back, like Lot’s wife as they ran from God’s destruction and judgment. We often retrace the steps we took away from our pasts, away from our failures and shortcomings, from our addictions and obsessions. We take up the discarded chains and reshackle ourselves to our before, to our former ways, unwilling to move beyond our comfort zones into our freedom zones.
There is a time for everything,Ecclesiastes 3:1 via Bible Gateway
and a season for every activity under the heavens
How do we avoid our tendency to backtrack? What do we focus on to keep our attention on Him, on His cross, on His sacrifice and resurrection. How do we grow our faith? How do we fix our eyes on the pioneer and perfecter of that faith? How do we claim the joy and strength an intimate relationship with our Savior will grant us?
Paul shares the following message to the believers in Rome:
his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ!Romans 1:4-6 The Message via Bible Gateway
We receive the gift of Jesus’ life and become who we are because of that gift and because we were called by Christ himself. Our identity must transfer to Jesus. We are no longer ourselves, but Christ who lives within us. This is how we maintain our focus, by maintaining our abiding and saving faith. By trusting He is who He says He is and by faith that we are saved because of what He did, not by anything we can do for ourselves.
Wes has written a devotional that shares spiritual insights chunked into bitesized bits. Check it out here.
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