“Keep your eyes on the prize.” What is our prize? The things of this world? Relationships? Only Jesus!
28 In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness [HIM!], and all these things [the things we need] will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
In our Christian lives, we go through stages:
- Salvation- When we come to the LORD for new life and for washing in the blood of Christ, we feel jubilant, radiant, grateful, and exuberant. At the same time, we feel peaceful, content, relieved, and joyful. We are excited about following Christ and we promise all kinds of things.
- The Adjustment Period- As we walk with Him, we find that there are many things in our lives that aren’t righteous. Jesus begins to ask us to give them up. Also, He begins to add to our lives things that make us righteous. His goal is for us to be just like Him. A lot of stumbling goes on during this time. But, Jesus is patient and long-suffering. He KNOWS our struggles and helps us through them. His Spirit is quick to give encouragement and strength as needed, especially when we ask for it! Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” This is one of my life verses.
- Cruising Speed- There comes a point where we hit our stride spiritually. We are doing all the right things (mostly) and we are not doing what we used to do before coming to Christ. We are trying to put what we know into practice and are still learning to lean on Him for perspective, insight, and guidance. Things can rock along for years in this stage.
- Abandonment- This stage is a two-edged sword. Whether it’s the death of someone close, major medical issues, loss of employment, empty nest, or even retirement, there comes a time when we may feel abandoned by the LORD. Know this:
- Jesus said that He would never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5
- Between green pastures are valleys of “death.” We are walking from one pasture to the next. Psalm 23:4
- Jesus’ kingdom is not currently of this world and neither is ours. John 18:36, Philippians 3:20-21
- He will meet our every need according to His riches in glory. Philippians 4:19
- He wants us with Him. John 17:24
- Complete surrender- We abandon all for Christ. There comes a time when we finally understand that there is nothing in this world worth taking our eyes off of Christ. It is at this point that we realize that everything we have gone through is to get us to this point. Surrendering to Christ from this point on is easy. It’s the logical choice, the one that will bring us the most joy and peace. The radiance of His presence in our lives is worth all the heartaches, trials, and misfortunes we have endured–or are currently enduring.
Walking with Jesus is not for the faint of heart. When He calls us to follow Him, there is a cross at the end of the line. We have this promise:
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
No matter what stage we are in, let us “fix our eyes on Jesus” and make Him our ultimate goal. Let’s be ready to give up everything and follow Him wherever He leads us. I pray that His next destination for us is REVIVAL!
Abba, walking with You has been an adventure! And, it’s not over!!! I am looking forward to all You have in store for me–even the heartaches and trials that are inevitable. I know that through them I will become stronger in my dependence on You, I will see You more clearly, and I will feel You more intensely as I lean in on You. Spending time in Your presence is becoming a preference over many things. May I not be so heavenly minded that I am of no earthly good, LORD! I want to be Your hands and feet today. May it be so. Amen.