Yesterday I sat in a meeting with 500 leaders from around the world who were strategizing about reaching the nations with prayer, evangelism and the Word of God. I was blown away as I sat and listened to some of my heroes of the faith who wrote books that I read in college. The night ended with my son, Alex and I standing on the stage watching his favorite band. The capstone to 2013 has been an amazing challenge to dream again.
2013 brought unprecedented open doors and opportunities that I could only have dreamed of in years past. But before 2013, I had a lot of mundane years where I wanted to quit, give up and lose hope. For my friends who had a bad year, I offer this advice from the word of God.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.” (Philippians 3:12-16)
#1 Let Christ Possess You
“But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” Philippians 3:12
The ideal of being possessed by another spirit is the stuff of spooky movies. But how many of us have let money or lust make decisions for us? For that moment when money made the decision, you were possessed by fear or greed depending on the situation. When food called you, your lust or stomach possessed you for that moment.
I believe that we make more decisions from being possessed by another spirit than the spirit of Christ than we think. I know I have let money or food call me instead of God more than I ever want to admit. The first step to changing our future is to let Christ possess you.
Let His word be your word. Let His motivation move you. Let His Spirit take over.
#2 Change Your Focus.
Focus is an asset that needs to be protected. Your focus will determine your path. Focus on the wrong person or wrong idea and you’re going to go off track. I’ve had at to literally fight to keep my focus on the things of God. Here’s a simple tactic I’ve taken to focus on God – believe His word and not mine.
The enemy’s main battlefield is my mind. Whenever I’m thinking, “I can never do that, I will never be picked or I’m such a loser,” I know that God isn’t saying that to me. Someone else who hates me is speaking that to me in my own voice.
Choose to focus on the word of God and what God says about you. He believes in you more than you believe in yourself. Meditate on this – the God of the Universe has faith in you. That’s a scary thought but it’s true. He has no Plan B. We are the plan for advancing His kingdom.
#3 Forget the Past.
The enemy will remind you of your past failures and disappointments. God is always looking to your bright future. I’ve had some bad years but I can barely remember them because during those hard years I chose to focus on His word. I’ve let what He thinks take over and interpret those bad years for me. Choose to forget the past to make way for God’s future for you.
If you’re experiencing the consequences of bad decisions in the past, pray for crop failure! Or speak the word of God over your past. Let God define your future.
#4 Look Forward to What Lies Ahead.
The ability to look forward is a gift. I’ve had days when I was inundated by voices to quit and give up. During those moments, I would cry out to God and pour out my heart. Then I would get a glimpse of my future – the friends I have yet to meet, the grandchildren that I will hold in my arms some day and being with my husband as God forms him. The looking forward takes over as I get a glimpse of what lies ahead.
#5 Press on.
The definition of press is:
verb (used with object)
1. to act upon with steadily applied weight or force.
2. to move by weight or force in a certain direction or into a certain position: The crowd pressed him into a corner.
3. to compress or squeeze, as to alter in shape or size: He pressed the clay into a ball.
4. to weigh heavily upon; subject to pressure.
5. to hold closely, as in an embrace; clasp: He pressed her in his arms.
Notice that you have to take the action of pressing on. You have to move, apply weight or force, You have to take action. No one can do this for you. Your pastor, favorite bible speaker or leader can’t do this for you. You have to choose to act, apply force and move.
When I’ve been overcome by hopelessness or fear, I’ve had to literally force myself to open the Bible and speak it over myself. I’ve stood in the bathroom, speaking the scripture to myself in the mirror. Let me tell you, the Word of God is the number one weapon you have for your future.
Don’t take the Word of God for granted. Yesterday I heard that there were almost 2,000 tribes that had no access to the scriptures because it wasn’t printed in their language. Here were have the most powerful force on the planet that has taken down empires, changed nations and cultures in our hands. Use it!
The Word of God was meant to be spoken, sung, preached and acted on. It is not meant to stay on a piece of paper but to come out of your mouth. So press on to your future by speaking the Word of God over your life!
#6 Remember you have a heavenly prize that Christ is calling you to reach!
You have the God of the Universe and all of the hosts of heaven cheering you on in your race. There are rewards waiting for you ahead.
“Trouble chases sinners while blessings rewards the righteous.” Proverbs 13:21
I’ve seen the rewards in my own life – a godly husband and children that love God. Right now you may be recovering from your own bad choices or you’re ending a hard year. Take heart! Focus on the Word of God, press in to His Word and remember you have rewards in this life for following Him and a heavenly prize waiting for you. God and the hosts of heaven are cheering you on.
What are you believing for in 2014? Let me know and I’ll pray for you! May 2014 be a mind-blowing year for you.