I'm away, out at the Lutheran Camp/ Retreat Centre near Prince Albert. One of the things I had to do to get ready for the church Ladies' retreat weekend was "devotionals" for this morning and tomorrow morning after breakfast. If you've got a minute, take some time for...
PERSONAL REFLECTIONS: Saturday, February 25, 2006
Read: Philippians 3:1-11
The Apostle Paul had a stellar Spiritual Heritage.
Spiritually speaking, he had flawless spiritual genes.
When he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he quickly began to do some serious self-evaluations.
Paul was a Jew among Jews- he had lived a pretty near faultless life, by the Jewish standard of the day, but when God stopped him in his tracks, and he met Jesus, and began to compared himself to the person of Jesus Christ, all that Paul was and all that he had made himself to be were worth nothing.
Is there anything that you, like Paul, can boast about, or have confidence in?
What are the things that make, or have made you in the past, think that you can hold your own with other Christians?
What are the things from your upbringing or your faith journey that make you hold your head high- the things that give you confidence and security when you?re at Church or around the people of God?
Conversely, what are the things that you've been ashamed of? The things you've had to overcome.
What Spiritual Baggage have you carried or had strapped to your back by your parents or other relatives?
Is there Spiritual Quagmire that you've had to sludge your way through because of choices you've made?
Have you had to negotiate your way through Emotional and Spiritual Quicksand because of the choices others have made for you?
Have you had to wade through the consequences of other people's sin toward you?
These things are your Spiritual Heritage. The good and the bad.
These are the things that make us who we are, spiritually speaking.
When we look at ourselves, we see ourselves through glasses coloured by our Spiritual Heritage. We need to recognize our Spiritual Heritage in order to understand who we are and where we've come from.
Paul could have had great confidence in himself because of who he was and where he came from.
He had, however, a humble self knowledge of who he really was, where he was going, and how he was going to get there. Paul wrote in Romans 7:18 & 19...
" I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do?this I keep on doing."
Paul knew that he had no control over his Spiritual Heritage- he couldn't take credit (or blame) for the choices his ancestors made.
He used to take great pride in his perfect antecedents-in his faultless upbringing and in rigorously keeping God's laws. But when he met Jesus he understood that it was worthless.
He came face to face with himself, and was completely humbled by what he saw.
Paul understood that the only thing worth anything is knowing Jesus, and giving yourself to him- the good and the bad.
Take some time to think about your Spiritual Heritage, recognizing that it has played a large part in making you who you are today.
Thank God for the good.
Now thank him for the bad.
Ask him to forgive you for those things that you could have done differently; for the times you made the wrong choice.
Thank him for his mercy and his grace.
Ask him to take the bad that you had no control over. Ask him to forgive you for wrong responses and anger if you've been holding onto it. Ask for his help to forgive those who did wrong against you.
Thank him for his love and his grace.