Do you ever feel stuck??? You’re in a rut. You just can’t seem to move forward. We’ve all experienced this. Sometimes it’s our career or a relationship. It can happen as we struggle to master a new technique or put into practice a plan to lose weight.…
Do you ever feel stuck??? You’re in a rut. You just can’t seem to move forward. We’ve all experienced this. Sometimes it’s our career or a relationship. It can happen as we struggle to master a new technique or put into practice a plan to lose weight. Unfortunately, we can also find ourselves in a spiritual rut, unable and unsure how to gain momentum and move forward in our faith.
In this series we’re going to study a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote while he actually was physically stuck…in prison. Paul found a way to maintain spiritual momentum by “pressing on towards the goal” and this actually gave him great contentment, joy, and peace through an incredibly trying time. In this this series will Holy Spirit will teach us how to more forward spiritually as we unpack what it means to “forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.”
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: 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 3:13-14
September 13-15 Focusing
We often get stuck in self-pity, focusing only on the negative. We think we’re all alone in our suffering. But if we stop and consider what God has done for us and what we share as members of his family of believers, just that change in focus can change our whole attitude.
September 20-22 Advancing
The gospel advances even when we’re stuck! It continues to advance in us when we remember that getting unstuck is really God’s work that he wants to do in us—that he will do in us. After all it is God who began this good work in us. He will bring it to completion so that we are ready for our Lord’s return.
September 27-29 Imitating
Our being stuck can sometimes be a form of self-centeredness. When we dwell on ourselves too much we end up comparing ourselves to others in an unhealthy way. To help get us unstuck the Apostle Paul redirects our attention to Christ’s humiliation which alone can produce in us true humility. Humility isn’t thinking less about ourselves, but thinking about ourselves less so that we put the interests and needs of others ahead of our own, just like Christ Jesus did for us.
October 4-6 Shining
People who are spiritually stuck have this ugly tendency to complain and to argue. But this doesn’t help anyone inside or outside the church come closer to God. God’s plan instead is to work in us to change our attitudes and our actions, to bring us closer to him, so that we can shine like stars as we hold out his word of life to our dying world.
October 11-13 Straining
The most important part of getting spiritually unstuck often is forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead. We see this especially in the life of the Apostle Paul whose life was radically changed by God when he realized that he could never earn his way into heaven by striving harder and harder. In fact, Paul started moving forward in his faith only when he understood clearly that he could stop striving to earn heaven because it was earned by Christ’s perfect striving.
October 18-20 Rejoicing
Anxiety can feel crippling. Constant worry can make us want to pull the covers over our head. But God promises to guard our hearts and minds with the peace that transcends all human understanding. As we take God up on his invitation to pray, he wants to replace our worrying with rejoicing.
October 25-27 Sharing
As members of God’s family we share our concern for one another, we share our resources with those in need, we share God’s promise that he will always take care of us and meet all our needs. Confidence in God leads to contentment and lasting peace. In this way we can always stay at rest in God’s promises no matter what we face here in this world as we press on toward our real home in heaven.