31 July 2008

Follow Hard – 2.8.08

Well, we've wrapped up our study on the biblical doctrine of "the law," and next week we'll start taking a look at what the Bible says about the tongue. Thanks to Noelle O'Brien for the suggestion…I trust it'll be a blessing to all of us.

Today I'd like to give you something I got out of my Bible reading this past week. Psalm 63:8 says, My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

When reading through the 63rd Psalm Thursday afternoon, my mind immediately went to the passage I claim as my life verse, Philippians 3:14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul said he PRESSED. David said he FOLLOWED HARD. And there is a certain aspect of effort, of struggle, of exertion, of perseverance, of disciple, of self denial, of flat out hard work inherent in the process of Christian growth, in the process of conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. The very word follow implies the idea that the object we're after is not stationary. I can run toward a telephone pole, but I wouldn't follow it…because it's not going anywhere. The point is that if we're not moving forward in the Christian life, we're losing ground. It's as if the object we seek to apprehend (Philippians 3) is in constant motion. And so we can never quit pressing. Daily we must renew our minds, renew our hearts, renew our resolve, forget what's behind, and reach forth to what's before. Strive, press, march, follow hard after God!

In light of all that, what a blessing that in the midst of such perseverance and steadfast pursuit of quite a lofty goal, we are upheld by the right hand of God (Psalm 63:8). While there is a certain aspect of working hard to grow in Christ, what a blessed truth that the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20)! What a blessing that God works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13)! Praise the Lord that He which hath begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)!

So while God requires that we put forth some effort, He knows that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), and so He supplies us with the power of His Holy Spirit to lead us, to guide us, to teach us, to empower us, to enable us, to make us perfect in every good work to do His will, working in us that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:21).

To Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!

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