South African Christian Network for Women - Cup of Faith

A Journey to Christ-likeness

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:10-14

It’s so freeing to know that I can lay hold of something that Christ has already done; He has set me up for success. I did not save myself through my own efforts; all I did was allow Jesus to take hold of me by believing in Him and putting my hope in Him.

The day Jesus died on the cross, he did not just die for my sins to be forgiven…

He

– Absorbed the wrath of God
– Showed obedience
– Showed us how to love sinners
– Abolished the law
– Became the ransom for many
– Died for the forgivingness of sins
– To bring us to faith
– Make us holy
– Bring physical healing
– Reconcile us to God
– Free from sin
– Enable us to live for God
– Live by faith
– Give marriage deeper meaning
– Passion for good works
– Make us followers of Christ
– Free us from the fear of death
– Destroy hostility between races
– Give us real joy

That’s awesome! That’s huge! The day Jesus died on the cross He laid hold of all those things for me!!

He also laid hold of me!

The day I put my faith in Jesus, I became His and I don’t just say “Oh thanks for dying for me, now I feel good about myself” NO! The day God pulled me from the miry clay, He set my feet on a rock! On a new path, a new road.

I now have destiny, purpose and a mission to walk in all the things that Jesus has done.

To “lay hold” means to apprehend or seize after a pursuit.
It’s chasing and grabbing and keeping in a firm grip so that you can’t getaway

So, what Paul is saying is that Jesus chased him down, seized him, and put him on a new path.

Once Jesus puts us on this path, we have a mission, a purpose. That purpose is ultimately to bring Him Glory. You can’t bring him Glory if you don’t know him. So, we spend this life getting to know Jesus and then, to make Him known to all.

Becoming like Jesus is a life long process. It takes years for kids to grow to maturity. I can’t expect more from my 7-year-old son, Ethan, than what a 7-year-old can do, just like I can’t put a T-bone steak in front of my baby and expect him to eat it.

In our journey of Christ-likeness, He gives us some ways to stay on track. This is to keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful.

Thinking back to my first 10km race; I had been training for months and I felt ready to tackle it, expecting to finish under an hour. But on the day, I felt completely overwhelmed at the distance. I remember seeing the first sign that said 3km and shortly after a water station. I remember stopping, drinking my water and then saying to myself. “Now all you need to do is get to the next water point.” I started running again knowing I only had to make it to the next water point and before I knew it, the 6km marker was there….and I kept doing that till I finished the race with a big smile on my face.

Here are some water points to get you through the race to maturity. These points will help you be more effective on your journey.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

2 Peter 1:5-9

Faith

This is the foundation, God’s gift to us. He has laid hold of us, we believe in Him. He had done all the work.

Goodness

This is becoming more like Jesus. Acting like Him. Being Christlike

Knowledge

Knowledge through the word of God. God’s word will make us knowledgeable on how to know Jesus better

Self-Control

The only way to have self-control is to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.. to be led by Him

Perseverance

This is the ability to endure hardships and distress. It helps keep us following Jesus even in trials

Godliness

Being aware of Jesus in EVERY aspect of your life brings Godliness.

Mutual Affection

Christ accepts everyone, so can we.

Love

Self-sacrificing love, Just like Jesus.

3 Things that can Hinder your Maturity.

These 3 are what I’ve found in my life to be a hindrance.

Trials, Pain, Suffering

John Piper says: “God’s glory shines more brightly when he satisfies us in times of loss than when he provides for us in times of plenty”

The way you respond to pain, trials and suffering can literally stop you in your tracks and keep you from growing.
Trials, whatever they are, reveal the real you! It shows what you truly believe. It strips you off all the idealistic ways and leaves you in a vulnerable place. Yet, we are to rejoice in our trials.

Trials and Temptations
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

For 5 years of my life, I was consumed by the pain of infertility, to the point where I couldn’t worship God. It stood in the way of my relationships with God and with people and I refused to give it up. I believed a lie that if I held on to it, that somehow I could “make” God do what I wanted him to do. How immature.

One morning during worship, I felt God say, “If you never have a child, will I be enough for you? Am I really your great reward?”

It took me about 3 months to surrender and I remember the day where I said – “You are enough for me! You are the only one I need.” WOW! The freedom that came on that day! Did I still cry about not having a baby? Was it still a painful time? YES! But it was no longer keeping me from worshipping God and I was now using it to draw closer to God.

Comparison

When you spend your life comparing yourself to others, you won’t have time to grow.

Unity and Diversity in the Body
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

We are all different. We have different gifts and talents. Don’t compare. Comparing yourself will stunt your growth, waste your time and make you unhappy. Be bold and be who God has made you to be.

Whatever gifts God has given you, use them to lay hold of people for his Kingdom.

Live a God-glorifying life.

Fear

Our comfort and security in life can quickly become the most important thing to us, so much so that we refuse to trust God.

I always think of the Israelites and the Promised Land. Their safety and security were more important. What a waste. In my own life, I’ve allowed fear to keep me from possessing all that God has for me. It’s one of my daily struggles and God is always reminding me of His promises.

The Fear of not having enough, The fear of rejection, The fear of bad news, fear of death, fear of the future…..

You overcome fear by declaring the word of God. Fear is the enemy and the word of God the sword. Use it. It’s the only way.

They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

Psalm 112:7-8

Don’t allow fear to paralyze you from being obedient to God.

God expects maturity from us, we Glorify Him when we become more and more like His Son Jesus.

In this race, in this journey to Christ-likeness, you are not left alone. God says I will never leave you nor forsake you. He also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower us to do all these things. At the same time, he puts us in community, in His Body so that we can mutually encourage each other in this process. Jesus paved the way for us. He has done it all, now walk in it.

1 Comment
  • Sandy Foce
    Posted at 07:36h, 22 January Reply

    So encouraging to run the race with and for Jesus!

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