One of the things we do not consider is the review mirror effect of looking back on our lives. What has happened in the past is something we are not able to change. What is yet to be is something we are not able to foresee. All we have is the present moment. And since we have the present moment to concern ourselves with – how are we willing to experience it? Prayerfully studying through the New Testament will, hopefully, provide some personal insight into how you may address those concerns. Provide personal wisdom to move beyond the reflections of the past. Give understanding to increase faith with an eternal perspective toward a h hope that comes through a personal and intimate relationship with Christ.
The days are growing short, and I am still seeking after a more meaningful and purposeful life
Being middle-aged, it is a time to reflect on where my life has taken me and as to what type of legacy I already left behind. What type of impact have I made on others that I have interacted with? Am I the best person that I am capable of being? These questions seem to haunt me as I contemplate where I have been and where it is exactly that I want to be.
Transforming our lives from a broken and fallen past requires acceptance of what has transpired beforehand through acknowledging our own failings, our own poor choices, and the circumstances that have been out of our own control. It also requires turning to and giving over our own will to the will of a Sovereign God, knowing that through His own power and mercy, we will receive forgiveness and redemption. It then requires our own commitment in walking daily, seeking His guidance, companionship, and nurture for our own development of faith.
Have you come to realize that your own life is broken, fallen, and without guidance? Have you come to realize that your own life is in need of a spiritual transformation that can only happen by accepting Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Savior? Have you come to determine that your own life is unmanageable and are seeking guidance in your own life? It is time to turn back from our old ways of conformity and transform our lives through the renewing of our mind to prove that which is good and acceptable before a Sovereign, Merciful and Just God (Romans 12:2).
A Revolutionary Attitude and Perspective
One of the most difficult acts of human experience is to surrender our very own will and lives over to God. This is a most revolutionary act. Yet we are constantly told to learn how to control ourselves. Manage our attitudes and behaviors. Think things through. Never to give ourselves completely over to a supreme and Sovereign God.
Humanity is based on the illusion of control. Yet, we are required to let go of our excessive carefulness. We are guided by scripture to move according to the Holy Spirit. Yet, when we are in touch with who we are in Jesus Christ, in touch with loving other people, and in touch with God; there is freedom and liberty in experimenting.
Our Heavenly Father stretches us. Do whatever he tells you is the most revolutionary part of our surrender. Through the act of surrendering our life and will over to the care of God, we are submitting to His authority and desire for us to walk in accordance with His guiding counsel. This requires us to be willing to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit in a most spontaneous way. This is because we become sensitive to the messages around us without attempting to control the outcome. By allowing God to do the worrying for us, we find possibilities and opportunities opening up to experience His love and care for us and others.
Moving beyond a broken and fallen past
We all have our past and we all have made our journey to where we are at today. Sometimes, we tend to reflect on the broken and fallen nature of our past and wonder how we could have ever been so blind, ignorant, or even selfish. Regardless of where we have come from, the focus is more on where it is that we desire to be and how we are able to seek out the will and desire of a loving and merciful Heavenly Father.
It does not matter what our circumstances are, and were we find ourselves – what matters is that our Heavenly Father is willing to accept us right where we are at and work within us to transform ourselves into the image of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This transformation comes about when we are willing and committed to surrender our will over to the will of God as we understand Him. It is through the power and grace of God that we are capable of moving beyond our broken and fallen past to be used by His good will and purpose. Eternal life is simply based on the reality that we are to come to know the Father and Jesus Christ whom the Father had sent (See John 17:3; NASB)
Repentance and submission are key elements toward a transformed life.
One of the biggest key principles of all scripture is the constant call for us to repent of our sins, and to submit ourselves over to the authority and will of God. Both, the Old and New Testament, we find that repentance and obedience come hand in hand with one another. Granted, we are saved by Grace alone and not that of ourselves or anything we are capable of doing; however, we must also begin to do those things that emulate an authentic Christian life.
Paul, the Apostle, expressed this in his treatise on the nature and purpose of baptism and how we are considered dead to sin, but now alive in Jesus Christ (Romans 6; NASB). As we genuinely repent of our sins, we are also forsaking them, never to return back to them. Instead, we are striving to submit our will and life over to a Sovereign God who will direct our paths and enlighten us with knowledge of how we are able to grow and transform our lives.
Suprassing Worth of Knowing Christ
Growing spiritually mindful helps us come to know and understand who we are through Jesus Christ. Part of this spiritual growth means we develop a sense of spiritual resilience and toughness. This happens as we deepen our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We develop a clear sense of what is most valuable and truly important. We also discover those things that are not as important as we had previously held.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that all that has come before needs to be counted as loss. Only Christ is the only thing we gain (Philippians 3:8). Our eyes become adept to recognizing the vile and wickedness of the world around us. And, because of this, harm does come to those who do good, and we sometimes do not win. Therefore, knowing our value and sense of worth through Jesus Christ helps strengthen our identity.
We are not easily offended when our values and needs are challenged. We leave no room for being wrong, and we strive to grow and learn in our experiences and adversities. However, we are required to stand for what we truly believe in – even stand and believe in Christ.
Never align us to those forces that may put us down or destroy us. Those negative forces are within us more often than they are outside of us. Understanding, clearly what we want and care about is our strongest defense. Regardless of where the attack may come from – we gain Christ more and more through our adversity than succumbing to defeat amidst our circumstances.
Putting off the Old Self and Put on the New Self
To experience this transformation – we are to be willing to shed the old self. Our old ideas, beliefs, bias, and prejudices (Ephesians 4:22-24). As you begin your study through the New Testament – one will see the gospel truths where Christ offers us an abundant life, peace of mind, and eternal life. This not only requires we shed our old self – but it also requires us to walk in faithful obedience to our Heavenly Father’s will. Dissolving the Old, putting on the new, and surrendering to God with contrition of spirit and brokenness of heart is what is needed to come unto Christ and follow Him.
Yet, it does not promise an easy journey. And, for someone who embraces Christianity as part of their recovery from substance use, mental health related issues, and any compulsory behavior they want to change; the rewards are self-discovery through Jesus Christ. Our Christian faith requires us to search our conscience for any resentments and face them. No one person is capable of progressing through spiritual maturity and recovery while holding onto past resentments, old angers, and hatreds.
By holding onto them, we are allowing a part of our old self protection from the light of Christ that renews our minds, heart, and soul. By allowing ourselves the ability to be renewed, we no longer reserve the small corners of our minds for the game of power and resentment. They will eventually consume us and justify in our minds a return to our old patterns, attitudes, and behaviors – sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire (See, Genesis 4:7, KJV).
Our Heavenly Father does not want us holding anything back that may hinder our deep love and need for His guidance, wisdom, counsel, and direction. We must come to a place to be willing to surrender all – even if we do not know how. No one person can stop being resentful by mere volition. It is only when we are honest and humble to become learners. Willing to be led in a constructive and corrective direction. To allow time to be guided rather than seek instant cure. It is then we may learn trust and may progress and grow.
It is a daily walk with the Lord as we live out the rest of our days.
Once we have decided to commit our lives over to a Sovereign and loving Heavenly Father, we must take up our journey and walk with Him daily. Christ equates the nature of children in relation to how we are as we come to know Jesus Christ and God, the Father:
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-4 NASB)
We are not just entering into a right relationship with God and are saved and redeemed by Jesus Christ: we also become adopted sons and daughters of God and we look to him as our eternal Father (see 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 NASB).
We begin to develop and nurture this parent-child relationship where our trust in a Sovereign God is likened to the trust a child places with his/her earthly father and mother. A child seeks security, nurture, wisdom, instruction, guidance, protection, sustenance and all other things from their parents. In much the same way, we come before our Heavenly Father for similar things. The more we rely and deepen our relationship with Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ whom He has sent, we will deepen and strengthen our faith and trust in Him for all things.
Approach The New Testament with a Fresh Perspective on Living a Mindful Christian Life
When we first start on the path of a mindful and spiritual Christian journey, the approach we take is to have an immediate change toward spiritual maturity. We believe that our growth provided immediate gratification, resolved our difficulties we faced. However, in living a mindful and spiritual Christian life, we begin to see we are engaging in a lifelong pursuit.
Within Christianity, and with our own personal Christian experience, there are three components to our spiritual growth and maturation. The first is the process of Justification. The second is the process of Sanctification. And, the third is that of Glorification. Justification is what takes place at the point of our conversion toward following Christ. Through Christ, we are justified and made whole and complete. This is instantaneous. It is where we experienced our own personal spiritual awakening.
The process of sanctification is our own personal path toward maturation. This is where we commit to walking by faith in God. Here, we receive counsel and guidance along our path. Sometimes, we may falter, take other paths that appear to be short cuts. Sanctification is the process of where we are continually learning to trust in God, and daily surrender our will and life over to His care. It is through this experience where we receive enlightenment. Enlightenment that provides truth and life for us.
Today, we focus on the tasks that encourage ongoing spiritual growth. We place our trust and faith in God and surrender to Him and His care.
Grow in Faith with Christ as a sure Foundation
Spiritual growth is not something that happens overnight. As we approach the scriptures and read the experiences of each individual, we are enlightened to their own journeys. Each one of them face difficulties. Each one of them encountered tragedy, found themselves in some of the most trying circumstances. What carries them through is their faith in God. Take courage and know it is God that holds us in His hands.
By facing challenges in our lives, we grow and increase in our faith in God. This is because when we are faced with a time of great need, the only refuge is to seek God and His wisdom and counsel. We are not able to resolve the problem without our faith in God. We are not able to fill a void that seems to consume us. Fear besets us. Yet, we struggle, fight, and finally call out to our Heavenly Father.
Once we bend our ear to Him, listen for His voice, God reaches into our lives and walks with us. Our faith is insufficient, yet able to grow in those circumstances. In order for faith to truly increase, we are to be consistent, endure, and be every watchful. We continue to stand firm in what we believe. God provides us the necessary strength and hope to move forward. Through our obedience, we endure and see God fulfill His promises.
We cannot speak our deepest truth. We are capable of living out our deepest and sincerest truth. Prior to our spiritual awakening, and realization of our need for Christ, we strove to live the best life possible. Despite our character defects, flaws, and upbringing. Regardless of coming from toxic environments, dealing with compulsory behaviors, and co-dependent relationships. Our deepest connection and desire has always focused on validation, love, and being truly authentic.
Through Christ, we begin to learn to live out our own truth. Daily transformed toward something real, tangible, and authentic. Our words become silent as our actions become evidence of what takes place deep within our souls. We no longer have to pretend or consciously invent ourselves. Through our quiet times, as we meditate and pray, our past, present, and future merge into one magnificent journey of healing. We grow and become whole where truth abounds.
The trust we have in Christ works within our own spirits to work our spiritual program helps us live out our deepest and most sincere authentic self.
A New Hope in a New Way of Living
Recovery and spiritual growth may sometimes feel quite overwhelming in the beginning. We may feel inadequate, empty, or even lonely. The pain of our affliction still resonates with us. The impulsiveness and drive to feed our inner chaos continues to motivate us toward temptation. Yet, we need to discard our automatic thinking, our drive to continue to engage in maladaptive behaviors, and radically accept another, wiser, way of seeing. We are working to maintain our path and journey toward spiritual maturation instead of being lost on some divergent path.
Let us not be burdened with how far we are from the assurance of hope that lies within us. Let us not worry about whether we are keeping pace with other people who are also on their own spiritual journey of growth and maturation. The most important factor is that we are on our own path and experiencing the process of spiritual growing pains.
Wisdom will come to us as we remain open to further learning. In some sense, our spiritual growth and our sense of powerlessness appear to keep us leveled while we are engaged in the process of growing and living a worthwhile life. Eventually, we will grow from spiritual milk to spiritual meat. We will move from spiritual crawling to spiritual walking. All in our Heavenly Father’s, and our own, timing.
Today, let us experience our vulnerability as it keeps us spiritually alive and growing.
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