Walk With God: Wholeness 3.0

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. [Philippians 1:21 ESV]

If WHOLE 1.0 can be described as the time we would speak of being whole but only through the accumulation of those things which could make us feel more significant, secure and accepted. Temporary stuff like the right job, the right partner, the right title, the right house filled with all the right material items or that people just like us.

The challenge with wholeness is that when life takes a bite out of us or any of these are lost, where will our sense of wholeness come from then. The only thing that truly satisfies us and makes us WHOLE is the acknowledgement that none of the above do and only God can.

Then we begin the journey from WHOLE 1.0 to WHOLE 2.0. We add to our basic faith as we walk with God through life. We gain from our experiences and from the answers to those difficult questions. We add some spiritual knowledge, some self-control, some perseverance, some godliness, some kindness and some love. [2 Peter 1:5-9]

If I’m honest, wholeness to me can still be about what I accomplish or achieve. It can be centred around how people view me and whether I am admired for who I am and what I do. It can be about filling life with the right kind of things.

Yet the Apostle Paul has a different measure. And this challenges me. I’m calling it WHOLE 3.0. His sense of wholeness came from a place where the only measure for a WHOLE life was Jesus. The ability to see he would be WHOLE in life and WHOLE in death.

It was not about accomplishment unless it was in respect of what he got to do for Jesus and to extend the kingdom of God.

It was not about recognition except to do everything always with the intention to bring glory to God.

It was not about how people saw him or about his reputation but instead was that more may come to accept Jesus as he kept on sharing the good news.

He deemed himself whole when he had much and when he had little. [Phil 4:12]

He deemed himself whole whether he would continue to live or whether he would die. [Phil 1:21]

He deemed himself whole just by living a life of righteousness. [Phil 2:14-15]

Where the desired fruit from my labour may, at times, be more earthly, Paul was always focused on advancing the kingdom for his precious Saviour, Jesus. His transformed life and sense of WHOLE impacted every aspect of the life he lived.

His goals were gospel focused.

His time was utilised on purpose.

His willingly served others.

His lived a righteous life.

He only wanted what he had. Jesus was more than enough.

He was present for every moment.

He focused on eternal values.

His inner peace remained strong despite the external pressures on him every day.

Dear God, help me to live a WHOLE life like this. Completely sold out for you, where all the other stuff really doesn’t matter. Where Jesus is more than enough. To be bust about kingdom purposes, every day. Amen

 

Walking With God: Examine Yourself

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” [‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭13:5‬ ‭ESV]‬‬

If we want a strong and healthy walk with God then it’s important that we make time to examine ourselves. Paul encourages us to do this in regard to our faith.

This is not a general observation. This is more than a look in the mirror and giving yourself a once over and declaring that you are ‘looking good’. I like to think this is more like a proper MOT.

I recently went to the Dr’s with a chest infection. I had my blood pressure taken, bloods done, ECG, chest x-ray and even an abdominal scan. All of these to discover if there was more than just an infection, maybe there was an underlying problem which had caused this.

Any purposeful examination has to go beneath the surface. Like a CT Scan that takes internal images, layer upon layer upon layer, giving the clearest picture possible of what’s happening on the inside. Can we be willing to do the same in our own lives?

There are 2 basic reasons why such natural examinations are important. To discover you are in good health or to discover you are in bad health. Then the right treatment can be prescribed. A spiritual examination will do the same.

We will remain strong in faith and strong in the Lord. And Paul prescribes 5 actions which may just help us…

Rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you [2 Corinthians 13v11‬ ‭ESV]

If we were to complete the right kind of self-examination today, what might we discover? What areas in our walk with God are not as healthy as they could be? What will do to improve them?

Red Letters Series

This Sunday we finish the Red Letter series at Xcel Church. I have really enjoyed delving into the words of Jesus and spending some time in the study of them – the problem for me is that there is so much we could talk about but so little time.

This week we will bring the series to a close by looking at the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe, in a Churchillian way, this was Jesus’ finest hour, a great oration from the master communicator. Or maybe it was so much more – a message to take us beyond the law, not to remove it but to transform it in to something more powerful and world changing.

Hopefully we will have enough time to look at 3 distinct aspects of Jesus’ words…

We are the light of the world
We are to go a little further
We are to remember the word ‘don’t’

One thing I know…Jesus wants us to keep the law but not live by that standard. He set a new mark, which could look like He just made the impossibleness of the Christian walk even more impossible. Let’s talk light, buckets, salt, cheeks, miles, stuff, worry, anger, planks, judging, narrow ways and loads more I know we won’t get through it all.

Thank God that we don’t live life in our own strength, that Jesus said He would never leave us or forsake us, that He said He would send us another Helper who would lead us and guide us in all truth. What a rush the Christian walk is – I love it. It truly is the ultimate challenge.

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