1. How can we possibly give everything to the Lord when we are fallen, sinful people?
It begins in our hearts and minds with a resolve like Paul's: "whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ."
It's powered by our deep desire to know Christ fully: "I want to know Christ"
It's a process: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal"
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It means putting our past failures behind us: "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead"
Philippians 2:12-13: This is one of my favorite passages because it so clearly divides our work and Christ's work in our sanctification. We have a serious responsibility (i.e. "fear and trembling") to yield to God's work in our lives. This yielding is not a passive yielding. It's an active yielding, a fight against all things that keep us from giving our hearts, minds and souls fully to Christ.
But God is the one who changes our hearts and minds ("for it is God who works in you").
As I was reading my Bible today, I noticed another phrase with this same emphasis on our work and God's:
"So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.." Colossians 1:28-29
This is an explanation of the Greek words used:
"The words striving (Col. 1:29) and conflict (Col. 2:1) are athletic terms. They refer to the strenuous effort put forth by the runner to win the race. Our English word agony comes from this Greek word."(1)
2. What things distract us from pressing on? Which of these is your biggest temptation? Pray about your specific distractions.
John 2:15-17: I am continually convicted about areas of my life that I am living for my own desires, not the Lord's. Perhaps my greatest temptation is my desire that all of my relationships should be smooth and my health should be good. It's not that these things are "bad" things to desire, but I sometimes desire them more than God's purposes in my life.
This is a very strong, absolute statement: "If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them."
What do you think when you read it?
(1) Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Col 1:28). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless othewise noted