Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What is MORE

What is it that brings you to life?  Really think about it for a minute...Is there something that puts a little pep in your step?  Someone who colors your world in all kinds of wonderful?  There are many things in this world that fill us up.  But what if those things were taken away?  Would we have enough to sustain us?  Or would we be defined by our loss?

It hurts.
It strangles.
It can suck the life right out of us.
Leaving us feeling cold, deadened, dried up and alone.

Today I want to offer a new perspective on loss.  One that seems upside down and backwards to what the world lends us.  We need not look any further than the apostle Paul.

I've mentioned before that I began reading through the New Testament this year.  This summer I took a break and worked through a Bible Study on my own ("Namesake: When God Rewrites Your Story").  I recently finished the study and decided to go back to reading through the New Testament picking up where I had left off: Philippians.

Philippians is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  Six years ago this very blog was inspired by chapter one, verse six of that book: "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  I write about the challenges and changes God is working out in and through me.  The wrestling through of my faith.  The good work He is carrying out day by day, month by month, year by year.

It's no surprise that these past four years have been riddled with hardship for our family.  I've written a lot about them.  We've faced loss on many levels of our journey: homes, businesses, finances, a baby, health, comforts, and even friendships.  There have been times I've been so discouraged and have cried out to God that the stripping and pruning is too much to bear and I've feared it would render me faithless if one more thing was taken away.

The good news is, it hasn't.  God has used these losses and hardships to deepen my faith, knowledge, and understanding of Him in ways that a smooth-sailing-living-the-American-dream-life could never have provided.

So, I ask myself, is this LOSS, or is this GAIN?  What is MORE?

Yesterday's reading of Philippians solidified my answer to these questions.  In Philippians 3:8-9, Paul writes:

"What is MORE, I consider everything a LOSS compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may GAIN Christ and be found in Him."

I can only imagine the loss Paul experienced once he became a follower of Jesus.  He gave up his career that offered him financial stability, power, status, and prestige in his community.  I am certain he lost family and friendships and even his home as he left all things to proclaim the truth about Jesus.

Yes, Paul is all too familiar with loss.  Yet, he looked to these losses and sought out what was outweighed in importance, what was MORE...
His GAIN in Christ.

I've vowed to do the same.  No longer will I look to this season as one of leanness, lacking and loss.  My heart has been awakened to the GAIN.  If you are going through a season of loss or hardship, I urge you to do the same.  Not to minimize loss.  For it is real.  And it cuts deep.  It impacts and shapes us.  But it doesn't need to define us.  Who we are in Christ defines GAIN is to be found in Him.

Loved ones, careers, homes, finances, health, and all the things that comfort and make us feel secure in this world can be taken away.  But our faith and knowledge in the Lord cannot.  Nor can our relationship with Jesus. He is unchanging, consistent, faithful, never-ending, as is His grace, mercy, love and power in our lives.  Eternity can't be taken away from us either.  We are all facing it.  And He gives us the opportunity to spend it with Him in glory if we accept His Son as our Savior and follow after Him.

I'm following.
I'm pressing on.
I'm taking hold.

"But I PRESS ON to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12-14

No longer will I look behind and keep my eyes on the loss.  I'm straining toward what is ahead.  And what lies ahead is filled with incomparable gain.  This is MORE.  He is MORE.

So, I ask you again, "What is it that brings you to life?"  If you want to learn more about the Giver of Life, what it means to follow Him, or need a safe place to air your heart and your struggles, please contact me or private message me using the facebook link on this blog.  You are not alone.  Despite any loss you have experienced, there is still much more to gain...Him.

LORD, thank You for awakening my soul and showing me what is MORE in this life.  You.  You are my gain.  You are my more than enough.  You are my true and lasting source of joy.  I thank You that nothing can separate me from Your love.  No loss.  No hardship.  No struggle.  Help me to press on and fix my eyes on You in moments of discouragement or despair.  You are my constant.  Each day help me to give up more of myself and take on more of You.  Thank You for continuing the good work  You are doing within me.  May each moment and each breath be found in You.  You are MORE.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen

All for His Glory,

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