Archive

Posts Tagged ‘1 John 3:1-3’

A Work in Progress

March 20th, 2015

“Like clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand.” Jeremiah 18:6 NIV.

Remain in God’s hands until His work is complete and His plan evident.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a work in progress.”

People are so impatient; we expect everything to be immediate. What we want, we want now. You must learn that whatever is worth having is worth waiting for. And whatever is worth waiting for is worth the time and effort that necessitates.

As it pertains to your spiritual life and development, your best efforts alone will not achieve all God intends for you. Try as diligently as you might, your efforts will fall short. What needs to happen in your spiritual life requires God for its accomplishment. Yes, there are spiritual disciplines to which you must steadfastly commit yourself and be diligent in doing so. “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness . . knowledge . . self-control . . perseverance . . Godliness . . brotherly kindness, and love.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV. Ultimately, your spiritual growth requires the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling and working within you. Spiritual maturity occurs as you rest in God’s hands fully and continually, to work as He wills.

Jeremiah visited a potter’s shop and observed the potter at work when, “the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him . . like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand.” Jeremiah 18:1-4/6 NIV. The work in His hands requires more than the quality of the clay; the ultimate outcome is due to the vision, diligence, and skill of the potter. Impurities or failure may temporarily mar God’s design and delay His intention, but all is not lost.

The God who by His mere words created a world out of nothing, whispers, “Trust Me.” Remain in God’s hands until His work is complete and His plan evident. The process may seem dizzying at times and the purpose unclear, but rest in your Creator. “What we will be has not yet been made known . . but we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” See 1 John 3:1-3 NIV. That’s God’s promise.

EDL pix work in progressGod knows exactly what He is doing. You are a work in progress, while He faithfully conforms you into the image of His Son, Jesus, as you have asked Him to do. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NIV. That seems well beyond your finite ability to comprehend, but true nevertheless. I am not yet what I will be nor am I what I once was. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV.

When I was a young pastor with few skills and many uncertainties, God spoke His Word to my heart, “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV. Of that truth, I have never had reason to be uncertain. Across the years, I continue to be strengthened by the promise of His faithfulness. Read 2 Timothy 3:16/Hebrews 13:20-21. You are God’s unique design fashioned for His service and glory.

Participate and cooperate in the grand process that is called spiritual life. Really, this life is but prelude to life, eternal and incomparably glorious. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.

Today, my prayer for you is that the lasting impressions on your life are His alone.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Achieving Your Potential

November 4th, 2014

“Stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV.

Spiritual disciplines determine spiritual potential.

My thoughts and comments today are about “achieving your potential.”

Your innate desire to be more than you have been is from God. You have a God-given potential to become more than you have imagined. Boundaries are limits imposed by yourself or others. You were created “in the image and likeness of God.” Imagine the potential, presently and eternally, that God has invested in you. The only uncertainty is whether you will recognize and realize the divine potential within you. When you think of “achieving your potential,” what do you envision? Your capabilities will likely be more than your accomplishments.

Recognition of potential is the prerequisite for achieving potential. Paul described Godly potential this way: “That you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV. Do those words – “standing firm . . mature . . fully assured” – describe you? They can. Achieving your potential does not just happen; the process requires purpose and priority, as well as sacrifice. And add patience, perseverance, and obedience to that list. Your full potential, being “mature and fully assured,” rests upon your priority and practice of living fully within the will of God.

Spiritual maturity is the pathway to your potential. “. . that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12 NIV. Maturity is not measured by comparison with others. Paul warned of those who, “. . measure themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12. Jesus is the only adequate and accurate standard for comparison. Not only is Jesus the standard by which you will be measured, He is the willing accomplice for all of your spiritual accomplishment.

Spiritual maturity is the goal; becoming like Jesus is the process. Be patient; your spiritual potential is achieved progressively in a process that is lifelong. “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT. In the simplest of terms, spiritual maturity can be described as Christ-likeness. See Romans 8:28. There is very good news about this process. John wrote, “We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” Read 1 John 3:1-3 NIV. Usually, we seem unclear as to the practical implications of Christ-likeness. Here is a useful, practical definition that has helped me. “Spiritual maturity is rightly responding to life’s situations according to Biblical patterns of behavior.” In every circumstance, a good question to ask is, “What would Jesus do?”  Your natural tendencies do not lend themselves to spiritual achievement.

Spiritual disciplines govern spiritual potential. (1) God’s Word is essential to spiritual life. “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise . .” Colossians 3:16-17 NLT. Spiritual maturity is achieved through a growing knowledge of the Word of God and a deepening obedience to the ways of God. (2) Welcome the Holy Spirit to rule your heart. “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do . . let the Holy Spirit fill and control you . . making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God.” Ephesians 5:17-20 NLT. See Galatians 5:8-10/22-23. (3) Make prayer a daily priority. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 NIV. See Philippians 4:6-7 NIV. (4) Let love be your lifestyle. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John  13:34.

Today, my prayer for you is to refuse limits that prevent your being all that God intends.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Original

September 28th, 2012

“[God] fashions their hearts individually.” Psalm 33:15 NKJV

Pressures can conform you into something other than your God-given uniqueness.

My thoughts and comments today are about “an original.”

I find the endless creativity of God amazing. “He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make. Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone . . For everything comes form Him; everything exists by His power and is intended for His glory. To Him be glory evermore. Amen.” John 1:3-4/Romans 11:36 NLT. Of all the people who have lived before you and all who live alongside you, there are no two identical fingerprints. The structure of each and every snowflake is unique to itself. And who but the Creator of all could imagine the limitless possibilities or create the variety of plants, or the species of insects and animals? The things the most creative people make are mere discoveries of what God has created, or adaptations and improvements of what has been made.

Very little is truly original; but you are an original – fashioned by God, made in His image, gifted for achievement, and destined for purpose. There is no one exactly like you, before or after you. Why then would you be willing to be a cheap copy of anyone else? In life, as in art, a copy however masterfully reproduced is of lesser value to the original. You sell yourself short and discredit the One who lovingly made you when you fail to identify and celebrate your originality. The Psalmist marveled at the creativity of God with these words, “The Lord looks from Heaven . . He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.” Psalm 33:13-15 NKJV.

Read again those words, “[God] fashions their hearts individually.” God doesn’t deal with people en masse – neither by ethnicity, nationality, religion, nor by associations or family. You stand individually made by God and personally responsible to God. Your heart, in its original purity, is fashioned by God personally. The practical application is this: God will work in your heart in ways unique to how He fashioned you to be. God may speak into your heart differently than He makes Himself known to others. God’s way of relating to you will be suited to the personality and temperament that He gave you.

I think Paul’s instruction is relevant, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Internal and external pressures can conform you into something other than the uniqueness with which God endowed you. Maybe you don’t wish to be different, but neither should you default by conforming to others’ opinions or expectations.

By His original design and continuing intent, God is working in your life transformatively, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose . . predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son . .” Romans 8:28-29 NIV. You are an original, yet all of us remain a work in progress, a work of His hands He is faithful to complete. “God, who calls you, is faithful; He will do this.” Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NLT. See 1 John 3:1-3 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you become only and all that God created you to be.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,