Faith at work - Living in relationship in Philippians

Read Philippians chapter three

You are who are you because of your upbringing, your life and the things you have been through. These things make up your personality, how you react to things and how you live. Many people think that it is these things in life that define them and excuse them. I have often heard people excusing their behaviour because of what they have been through, how they have been treated or their suffering.

Yet Paul says whether the things we had or the way we lived were good or bad they can be lost, given up and no longer have a hold. You cannot strive away from your past to gain righteousness. We cannot have a righteousness of our own but only what comes from God, through our faith in Jesus.

Everything comes under the control of Jesus, and the work of faith in you gives you the power to control and change your life and who you were. You are defined not just by the sum of your parts but also by the faith you hold to that works righteousness into you.

There are no excuses, there is no suffering or hardship that justifies ungodly behaviour. You have been made righteous. Christ knows what it is to suffer and remain righteous and because he has overcome death through resurrection so can you.

Press on, don't look back to what has passed or gone before, it is gone. Your past has been covered by the blood of Jesus and you are now righteous before God through his death. The work of faith in you sets you on a path going forward toward Christ, do not stumble over who you were, what you did or the suffering you endured. Do not have your mind on the things of earth or things that have passed. You are a citizen of heaven, being transformed by the power of Jesus.

Gary Says:

Ever been going through such a rough time that you even struggle to believe there's a God at all? I have! We can do bad things, sit back and blame it on our past and the emotional scars that are left behind. We can say nasty things and tell ourselves it's all I know, it's the way I am. The truth is, if we know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour then we are a new creation, born in his image - not ours!
What's more you no longer have a right to hold onto that hurt or sin. Jesus purchased your sin on the cross with his sacrifice - yesterday, today and forever.

You may have known hurt so profound it has been all consuming. Such a past is a challenge to overcome but not impossible - often we struggle with the thought that we are forgiven at all. The Gospels tell us that those who sin much are forgiven much. Jesus forgives our sin but that doesn't mean we forget it and it's how we allow it to shape our witness that is important.

Imagine this example: There is a position for a Debt Centre Manager. The manager, among other duties, would be expected to guide clients through their problems to gain debt freedom. Two candidates apply; Candidate 1 has a perfect credit record, a degree in finance and a list of debt solutions. Candidate 2 has filed for bankruptcy, lost everything and has known the difficult choice of 'food or fuel', someone who has walked that path and triumphed. Ask yourself, "Whose advice would I trust if I was struggling with debt?"

Your past is your past you cannot change it but you can control how it defines your witness and how you allow Jesus to use it for his glory. Your past could be your ministry!


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