Day 16 | Keep On Keeping On!
BY PASTOR JOSH HEILBRUN | JAMESTOWN CAMPUS PASTOR
As you have seen in my past blogs I have talked about Laws of Faith. The last law of faith has been shared with you already on Day 12 with Pastor Ed. So good! The last law is about Speaking the Word.
Our narrative must change. There must be evidence of our faith in both our language and our actions. I believe James mentions that somewhere. You can see this in the story of God renaming Abraham and Sarah, Paul, and many others. As God worked in their hearts, there became a new language and a new set of actions. Luke, quoting Jesus, talks on this in chapter 6, verses 43-45. What is present in the heart shows outwardly.
I want to touch on one last thing before our fast concludes in a few days. It is this: you can do more in the Spirit that you can in the flesh. Let me rephrase: You can do more by putting the Laws of Faith into motion then by human striving. Let’s read Philippians chapter 3, verses 12-14 in the Amplified Bible. Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul knew what it meant to continue to strive. Striving through every success, every abuse, every trial and circumstance, past EVERYTHING for the goal was greater. He could not be detoured by present reality. How did he do that? First, he had a greater vision through faith in Christ that was birthed in prayer.
How can we emulate him and truly emulate Christ? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you.” And another note is in 1 Thessalonians 5:17— Paul encourages to pray without ceasing. The Gospels note Jesus went away to pray OFTEN. Building faith in prayer is crucial.
What else did Paul do that we can emulate? Forget our past. What did Paul do before he became a prominent author of the New Testament and fiery church planter as we see? He persecuted the church RELENTLESSLY! Separating families. Approving the stoning (killing) of others. Do you think Paul felt guilt or shame once he realized what he had done after his encounter on the Damascus road? He is human like us and possibly felt those very feelings like we all do when we make grave mistakes. The MIGHTY work of the Spirit, and his choice to press forward— cutting the anchor of yesterday’s wrongs, empowered and propelled him to do what we see in history. Who wrote that we are a new creation in Christ? (PAUL)
Point being? Paul had a revelation that we can accomplish greater things in prayer, both in the Spirit and in our own understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15), than we every could by our own strength. Can humans do amazing things when we make up our minds? Absolutely! Could you and I endure such suffering, as Paul and Jesus did, when it is done just in our own strength? Or do we need a greater source? Is it found in the secret place as God the Father sends Holy Spirit to impart greater faith and strength? A greater purpose/goal must be in focus.
We press on through the rest of this fast, into 2019, not by our own strength but by the strength Jesus will give us as we commit to a lifestyle of prayer! We press on into the vision and mission of Christ knowing great obstacles are ahead but they are tiny in comparison of the prize that awaits us! We press by faith, by praying without ceasing, by implementing the laws of faith to see what God defines as what should be, not what is. We press forward as New Life to continue forward in church planting and seeing ND, our region, won for Jesus Christ!
Pastor Josh Heilbrun