Philippians 3:16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
This verse is a good reminder to me that as we pursue Christ, we have to be willing to let go of the harmful things that bring us down. Progress and maturity can be slow but God will get us where he wants us to go when we’re willing and obedient. He is full of grace and compassion and knows we make mistakes. But he’s working on
This does require us to rely on his strength and practice obedience. Take this example from my life:
God’s been helping me put food into the right perspective these past years. He wants me to go to him for comfort, not to tasty comfort foods – like chocolate. As I’ve slowly moved through this process (and very well may continue my whole life!) I’ve hit points where he encourages me to make a permanent change. It’s very difficult, and without his constant help, won’t become a permanent change at all. But relying on him 100% and daily choosing to be obedient, I know in time he will help me become completely free of this issue.
One of the first steps he has insisted I learn in this particular struggle is that
I won’t eat the things I don’t buy.
I can significantly reduce my problems by having willpower at the store and skipping the chocolate goodies, instead buying healthy, less addictive snacks.That doesn’t get me off the hook of course because I still have cocoa and chocolate chips in the house all the time! (I can always figure out some chocolate concoction that I would love to indulge in if I really want to. I can be very creative!)
Maturity here is taking that step to skip buying what will most tempt me. Why do I set myself up for failure? This is a lesson I have learned and know keeps me successful in being obedient to Christ. It’s something I have attained but need to make a permanent habit. Weekly, I get the choice to live up to what I’ve attained and learned, or to backtrack and go back to step one all over again with a cartful of all the foods that tempt me to overindulge.
I see this same concept in life in general. God is helping us grow and change to become
a little more like him daily.
Many areas involve daily obedience, daily decisions to put him first. Over time, maybe years or decades, many of our temptations can lose their hold over us and we can really say one day, we are free of them. We can’t live up to what we’ve attained and become the person God is forming us into by chance. We need to fix our eyes daily, hourly, monthly on him. He orders our hearts and daily maintains our hopes and desires to keep them on course.
We may not be able to imagine living life free of some of our current struggles right now. But, we can allow God to get us through today successfully. Today, let’s put him first, be willing to sacrifice that temporary pleasure or usual comfort just today. A bunch of todays end up being a week, then a month and eventually a lifetime of victorious living. That’s what God wants for us. And if today, you blew it, God has just as much mercy and grace for you to start again tomorrow. No matter how many times we fail, God never gives up on us.