Not By Might: The Power to Persevere

Walking shoes laced tight, I stand at the bottom of the fog-topped hill.  Already I’m weary and I haven’t yet begun the climb. With a sigh, I put one foot in front of the other and I’m on my way to the top.

Halfway up, I find myself breathless with calves and knees complaining, but I’m determined. I must be ready for the race in two weeks, and the hill I will face there is twice as large, twice as steep.

A few feet more and doubts start to creep in about my abilities, about my body’s abilities. And then I remember that persevering isn’t just for the spiritual realm but for this physical world, too, for my straining muscles and my apathetic mindset.

Music pulses through the headphones into my ears…

 “Greater things have yet to come,

Greater things are still to be done

in this Ci-tyy-yyy-y”

If I look too far ahead, I see only the fog stretching before me, creating the illusion that the hill stretches on forever. It will never end, I hear the voice in my mind and it grows louder with each step. This weight battle will never end for you. You might as well just give up now. Did you really think you could do this?  Do you really believe you will succeed?

I face a choice.

I can listen to my cramping muscles and the voice of that snake, the Enemy, or I can buckle down with God-dependent effort, determined to persevere even in this as long as the Lord allows it.  It’s the story of my life, really: keep fighting or give up.

Is there any middle ground between the two?

Often when we face life's "mountains" we feel the need to power through in our own strength. Whether we are on a weight-loss journey, a habit-kicking journey, a faith journey, whatever journey we are on, we depend on ourselves for success. What happens when our strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

 

I hear the chorus again,

“Greater things have yet to come..”

And another voice echos in my mind.

Greater things not just for this city but for you, Daughter.  You will reach the top. By my power, you will see success. With My strength, you will persevere. You CAN do this.  And greater things will come, but you must fight for it. You must fight the whispers of the Enemy and the desires of the flesh.  You must learn to lean on Me, even in this. I will give you the power to persevere.

The fog clears as I near the top and my strength is renewed. When I round the corner and the incline levels off, I feel a sense of relief, but I also want it to be over. I long for rest.  However, the walk isn’t finished yet. In fact, it’s only just begun.

I keep plodding ahead, one foot after the other, asking the Father’s glory to be revealed in even this small thing, asking for knees that bend without pain and breath that comes easier.  A few blocks later, I realize I’ve come full circle to face the hill again.

But this time, I have faith.

I know I can do it because I’ve done it before, with His help. And no matter how much my body protests, I drag it up the hill once more.

It strikes me then, the connection between the spiritual and the physical. How I often run straight to complaining when I face “hills” in life. I start out grumbling and already thinking about giving up.

Believing I might be able to “power through” until the trial is over if I could just see the finish line, I search the foggy path ahead, eyes straining to see through to the end.

But the end is not for me to see.

What I am given is just a few feet ahead of me.

As long as I focus on those few feet in front of me, I remain strong, but when I look ahead to the stretched out future, my resolve falters.

 It’s then that I turn to the Father.

I’m reminded of the prophet Zechariah, faced with the task of encouraging the Jews to rebuild the temple and re-establish themselves in Jerusalem. They faced many obstacles and nay-sayers, as well. In fact, they were just the remnant of the Jews who lived there before, only a few compared to the former.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground…”

Zechariah 4:6b-7a

In this passage, Zechariah experiences a vision. Through this vision, the Lord Almighty reminds the prophet that the work needing done would happen not by human strength, but by the power of His own hand.

He also promised to give the remnant the power necessary to complete the construction of the temple.  Even more than that, He reminded Zechariah of His almighty power to remove any obstacles (mountains) that might get in the way of completion.

Continuing on, verse nine contains a promise that He will complete the work. And the next verse down in that same chapter we read this powerful phrase:

 Who dares despise the day of small things…?”

Zechariah 4:10

According to Nelson’s Quick Reference (Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary),

“To the eyes of men, the temple project was but a small thing…but to the eyes of God, it was a source of great joy.” (p. 614)

My friends, we will face many hills in life, and mountains will stand in our way. Often, we’ll be tempted to quit before we’ve even really begun. The power to persevere on our own quickly walks out the door when the going gets gruesome.

It’s when we turn to Him for strength that never ceases and the will to persevere that we finally hit our stride.

Often when we face life's "mountains" we push through in our own strength. What happens when that strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

Keeping in mind that He delights in even the small things, small acts of obedience, small steps up a great hill, we cling to that power to persevere.

Even more, those hills that we face can feel like level ground in grip of His grace.

But not by our might,

only by His Spirit.

Greater things…

Jen :)

Sharing this with: Tell His Story, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

Comfort Eating ~ Grace and Truth Week 8

Hello, readers! No doubt you have noticed some changes ’round here. I’m really excited to have the new and improved Being Confident of This up and running in time for this week’s Grace and Truth link-up.  Now, if I could only learn to use the new and improved features well….  Let’s just say it’s a work in progess. It’s a good thing I have excellent blogging friends to help me iron out the kinks! :)

Last week I featured two bloggers whose posts really encouraged me, but there was one more that I really wanted to share with you all as well. So, this week I want you to meet Rosilind Jukic from A Little R and R. Since I’ve been sharing about my weight loss journey lately, her post about comfort eating fits right in with that theme. I greatly appreciate her candor about such a personal subject!

I am a Comfort Eater, healthy living, healthy eating, weight loss journey, body is a temple, over-eating is a sin, being obedient in what we consume

The Father has been helping me to follow my healthy living plans more carefully the last week or two and I’m starting to see some success! Isn’t it exciting to see the fruits of your efforts?

Trusting Him to continue the good work,
Jen :)

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Moms Who Gather

I felt so lonely when we first moved.

New pastor’s wife to a new community, a small community.

None of my usual comforts nearby. No church friends. No work-out buddy. No library with an awesome children’s section. No new YMCA with its handy child-watch room. No Wal-mart for last-minute needs.

Hardest of all, no family.

And I needed a way to connect, to meet some like-minded women, to make friends, especially mama friends.

So, without really knowing what I was doing, I started a group for moms.  The first year was hardest. I felt so inadequate and out of my element, a leader who didn’t really trust she should be a leader just yet.  But the Father kept encouraging, keep at it.

The second year our group actually fizzled out. I didn’t know what to do, how to “fix” it. So, I cried out for help.

The loneliness returned and I despaired.

Moms Who Gather, simple fellowship, sweet fellowship, moving, loneliness, friendship

Then a neighbor invited me to join a group of women who were going to clean up the community parks.  We spent the summer scraping paint, picking up trash, using our shovels, and dreaming up grand plans.  With sweat on our brows, we chatted and laughed, stopping here and there to calm a needy child or give some correction.  They became friends to me, these volunteers, these giving women.

So that Fall, I decided to try once more for that space I wanted, a space to just be real with some mama friends – no need for makeup or jewelry, clean houses or nice clothes. Just some adult conversation in a comfortable place – an informal gathering for an informal crew.

Now we gather, almost every week.

We aren’t many, but the fellowship is sweet. We talk of babies and toddlers, problems at school and problems at home. We talk of husbands we love and house chores we hate. We even talk politics sometimes. No subject is off-limits.

And lately we talk an awful lot about Jesus, too.

It’s so simple, yet so much more than I planned from the start because it came from Him, these gifts -my friends, my people.

We gather,

and He blesses every time.

Jen :)

I’m joining back up with the Five Minute Friday group this week after a looooong absence, and boy do I feel rusty!  If you’re new around here, FMF is when a large group of us free-write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes (well, some of us are known to stretch the rules a little) – no planning, no editing, no stressing. :)  If you want, come join us over at Kate Motaung’s place!

Also sharing with:

Grace and Truth

Spring and Fret ~ Grace and Truth Week 7

The Grace and Truth link-up was full of great reads last week, so much so that I had an unusually difficult time choosing just one to feature. So, I’m slightly bending the rules today to include at least a couple of the posts that were meaningful to me. :)

I really enjoyed this upbeat and hope-filled post from Cathy at Thoughts on Books about waiting for Spring. It’s full of beautiful photos and edifying scriptures.

One other post I just had to feature is Arabah Joy’s What You Really Need to Fast From This Lent. She breaks down a simple but powerful verse and wrings every bit of truth from the pieces!

I hope you take time to stop by the blogs above and be encouraged by the words there!

Jen :)

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Satisfaction Through Christ
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Who Controls Your Eating? ~ Grace and Truth Week 6

A few weeks ago my husband shared an illustration in one of his sermons that struck me in a new way, even though I had heard it before (based on My Heart, Christ’s Home by Robert Mounger).  He tells the story of Christ’s visit to a home. In the story, Jesus is shown from room to room, making various comments and pointing out sin and needs. But when He asks for a peak inside of the odorous hall closet, He’s denied.

We all have those closeted-off spaces in our hearts, areas we wish to keep to ourselves. Perhaps we feel the closet is too disgusting for Christ’s redemption. Perhaps we wish to maintain control over that area. Perhaps we simply don’t want to be told what to do with it.

When I heard the illustration told again, I recognized two areas that I’ve been unwilling to let the Lord have control of until recent years. Sure, I’ve given him bits and pieces here and there, but not the full access He is asking for.  One of these areas is my health, specifically my eating habits.

Lately, the Father has been teaching me how often sin comes into play in my eating. He’s making me call it what it is – sin.  He’s not letting me “off the hook” any longer.  He desires to free me from this slavery, and I’m beginning to yearn for that freedom myself!

So, I really appreciated Sarah Knepper’s post this week about emotional eating.  She was even brave enough to start a video diary and confess this problem face to face (well, digitally)!  I can relate to so much of what she wrote and said, so I’m happy to share it with you all.

emotional eating, over-eating, weight-loss-journey, Christian living

You can also find Sarah on facebook,twitter, and pinterest.

Thanks for the encouragement, Sarah!

Jen :)

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Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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Satisfaction Through Christ
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3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

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5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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Fighting Weight Loss Failure

So, lately I’ve put myself out there in some big ways here at Being Confident of This in spite of my weight loss failures I’ve told you why I hate speaking my goals aloud, why it frightens me.

Claiming that I’m working on losing weight, self-control, healthy living, is scary because it also makes me accountable to all who hear those words. It makes me accountable to myself and to my Lord, too.

And the Lord must be doing some sort of work in this area of health because He just won’t let it rest. :)

Last week, I wrote about the 5th cookie – how we can be like disobedient children who want our things our way. As I walked away from that post, and headed into Valentine’s weekend, I was pumped.

I was ready!

Somewhere along the line, I decided that since it was Valentine’s Day, I would allow myself to cheat a little.

It began with just a few pieces of candy that our children shared with me and extended right on into the evening with fried food. In fact, that sin snowballed right through the weekend and into Monday!

The problem wasn’t just that I failed to reach my healthy eating goals.

The real problem with cheating on my plan is that I didn’t even ask the Lord if it was okay. I shut Him out.

Once we fall off of the healthy wagon, it's all to easy to feel like a weight-loss failure.  How do we get back up again? Where do we turn for help?  Read here for some encouragement on your weight-loss journey!

I hadn’t really thought about this before until one of my readers pointed out that when she wants something, she takes it without asking, even if she knows punishment (such as gained weight) will follow, because it’s worth it at the time.

I think all too often, I like to live in denial of the punishment coming my way, not because I think God is going to be angry with me, but because natural consequences follow my unhealthy choices, my weight-loss failures!

Truly, the worst part of falling off the healthy wagon this weekend wasn’t the over-full, bloated body but that I felt like such a hypocrite. Boy, did the Enemy seize on that feeling, too!  I knew I was wrong. I knew I had failed, disobeyed. I knew I was a weight loss failure.

He knew it, too, that father of lies.

Didn’t you just write about making healthy choices and respecting the boundaries God gives you?  Didn’t you just tell your readers that those boundaries are for your benefit?  You’re such a hypocrite!  You’ll never get a grip on this area. Success will always elude you when it comes to food… You’re doomed to life as a big girl…You might as well just give up now!

Whenever I start listening to the Enemy’s lies, I want to hide away like Eve in the Garden. Instead of running to the Father to confess my sin, I often try to deny it. I pretend it doesn’t exist. I blame others. I act like it’s not a big deal – just a “little” sin.

I justify.

But somewhere deep inside, I know the truth of my own choices.

I know, too, that my Father is gentle and patient and loving. I know He forgives sin and removes it from me as far as the East is from the West.  I know He’s waiting….just waiting.

I don’t avoid Him because of His character but because of the wound to my own pride.

I consistently fail on my own.

I need Him.

With each comment here and on facebook, with each share notification, I’m reminded of His lesson. He’s been calling me, using my own words to beckon me to His side.

He’s relentless. He pursues without tiring.  He does all of this because He loves me.

He loves me.

He loves you, too, friend, even those of you wallowing in failure as I have been the past couple of days.  He loves those of you who feel you have no hope left. He loves those of you who struggle with doubts about His very goodness.

You see, the Enemy’s initial accusations were true – I was a hypocrite by choice, but the rest of what followed was all lies.

I know that with the Father’s help, I can overcome, even in the area of healthy eating. I can say no to food. I can say yes to exercise.  I can learn to trust the Father’s boundaries, even after a failure, especially after a failure! I can trust His work-in-progress in me. :)

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

That promise always rings true. He is faithful, my sisters in Christ. Whatever boundary you’ve been struggling with, He is faithful. He is faithful to me, and He is faithful to you!

Don’t wait any longer.

Confess.

Cry out to Jesus.

Let Him pick you up from this place.

Let Him be the author of your come-back.

When you do, the weight of sin will be lifted; the Accuser will be silenced.

And you…you will be white as snow.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R and R

The 5th Cookie ~ a Lesson in Boundaries

As my friend tells it, the whole ruckus started over the fifth cookie. We were at Mom’s Group, a small gathering of moms with young children, when her daughter begged for just one more cookie.

Unfortunately, she’d already eaten four others, and my friend was afraid that the preschooler might become physically ill if she ate any more. So, my friend said no like a good mom who is always looking out for her child’s well-being.

However, her daughter saw the “no” as coming from a mean mommy who wanted to limit her fun and pleasure. She wanted that fifth cookie, and she wanted it bad!  How could her mommy deny her such a good thing?

A loud power struggle ensued as my embarrassed friend removed her daughter from the room for some discipline.

When my friend recounted the incident later that day during our parenting class, I realized something important – sometimes I’m like the preschooler who wants the fifth cookie! 

We’ve talked before here in this space about how God creates boundaries for us because He loves us, not to keep us from experiencing pleasure or to deny all our wants.  He creates boundaries simply for our own protection, much like my friend, the loving mother.  She said no in order to protect her child, to keep her child from pain of a belly-ache, the harm of the consequence of over-indulging.

It's human nature to buck boundaries, test the limits,  but what if God's boundaries are really for our own benefit?  A look at why God's no is good for  us. Saying no to sin, God's boundaries for our benefit, christian women, christian living, weight loss journey, weight loss struggles, obeying God, the benefits of obeying God, devotional thought

In the same way, our Heavenly Father lays out boundaries in His word in order to protect us, to keep us from harmful consequences. I’d like to pretend that those boundaries are for really “serious” sins like murder, stealing, sexual immorality, idolatry, blasphemy, and so forth. But the truth is that the boundaries are for so-called “little” sins, too.

Even sins like over-eating.

Yes, sometimes I’m the preschooler who wants the fifth cookie, but the Holy Spirit tells me no. Then it’s my choice whether or not to heed that boundaries that the Father has put into place for my own protection.

You see, He knows the ultimate consequences of the fifth cookie – not just the extra weight, but the potential health risks that go along with it.  Even more, He knows what that lack of self-control says about the condition of my heart!

When I’m just dying for the fifth cookie, or the slice of pizza, or the brownie, or the glass of cherry coke, I’m allowing myself to be ruled by food, by pleasure. Our Father isn’t content that I should be a slave to food, nor to any other earthly thing (or person). He sent His one and only Son just for this – to set us free!

I long for this freedom, don’t you, my sisters in Christ?

I shared earlier this year about my one word – persevere. When I chose this word (or when it was chosen for me), I knew that one area in which I needed to persevere most was in this area of healthy eating and healthy living. I’ve bought into the lie that I cannot change these habits for too long now.

1 Cor. 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The Father is setting new boundaries for me, and sometimes I don’t like it. Like the preschooler, I fight it.

I fight Him.

I justify that one more bite won’t hurt. One more cookie will be okay. Surely my Father wouldn’t deny me this simple pleasure, right?  After all, I have freedom in Christ for all things, yes?

Don’t fall for those lies, sister.

Don’t be Eve in the garden, taking just one bite of juicy, forbidden fruit!

That fifth cookie, that movie you're dying to see, that strong word bursting forth from your mouth, that stray thought, that questionable relationship, that extra sleep - whatever it is that keeps us from the abundant good God has planned for our lives quickly becomes slavery. His boundaries are better, friends. God's boundaries, sin, obeying God, why God's rules matter, christian living, christian women, abundant life, living God's way, the good life, devotional thought

 

If I’m crossing the boundary in having that fifth cookie (or third, or maybe even the very first one!), then I’m opening myself up to all of those consequences that He so desperately wants to keep me from. 

Maybe you don’t struggle with food, my sisters in Christ, but I’m sure you struggle with His boundaries in another area – loving others? obedience? abiding in Him? keeping your thoughts pure? respecting your husband? being patient with your children?  honoring Christ every day (not just on Sundays)?

That fifth cookie, that movie you’re dying to see, that strong word bursting forth from your mouth, that stray thought, that questionable relationship, that extra sleep – whatever it is that keeps us from the abundant good God has planned for our lives quickly becomes slavery. His boundaries are better, friends.

1 Cor. 10:23  “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Whatever your struggle might be, recognize that our Father lays out your boundaries because He loves you, because He wishes to protect you from harm!  Remember that you have the power of Christ in you – the ability to overcome!

It's human nature to buck boundaries, test the limits,  but what if God's boundaries are really for our own benefit?  A look at why God's no is good for  us. Saying no to sin, God's boundaries for our benefit, christian women, christian living, weight loss journey, weight loss struggles, obeying God, the benefits of obeying God, devotional thought

I’m learning that this food battle is going to be just that – a real war. I need His strength to persevere. I need His will-power to say no to the fifth cookie, even if My Fitness Pal says I have still have calories left in the day. ;)

I must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and rely on His leading moment by moment. One day at a time. That’s how I’ll persevere in this area of healthy living.

By His strength and grace alone!

Jen :)

Related articles:

Fat Girl Insecurities

Fighting Weight-loss Failure

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Tell His Story, The Mommy Club, Wedded Wednesday, Fellowship Friday

How We Love ~ Grace and Truth Week 5

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. How we love our husbands, how we love our children, how we love neighbors and friends and even the church. The agape love we are called to is a mighty force when we see it in action. It’s a beautiful, awe-inspiring thing!  Unfortunately, we often miss opportunities to demonstrate such sacrificial love in our homes, our communities, and our churches.

At the end of last week, I wrote about loving even when marriage is difficult. So, of course, the title of Christy’s (from Faith Like Dirty Diapers) post immediately intrigued me, and I wasn’t disappointed!  This is one of my favorite lines from what she wrote: “What I built in my sinful flesh has to be dismantled by “divine power.” I CANNOT do this alone. I need the Spirit of God to intervene in a mighty way.”

Amen, sister!  I’m realizing that over the last decade or so, the Lord has been tearing down the human constructs in my marriage and rebuilding new ones based on Christ!  Be sure to stop by and read the post for yourself. You can also catch Christy on facebook.

I pray that as we go into Valentine’s weekend, we’ll be overwhelmed by the Father’s love, which will overflow in agape love towards all of the people in our lives!

Jen :)

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Kaylene Yoder
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

The Brown Tribe
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Arabah Joy
BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | G+

A Divine Encounter
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | G+ | STUMBLEUPON

Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
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Sharing Redemption’s Stories
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Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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How Sanctification Gives Us Hope ~ So Great a Salvation Series

It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?

The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively let it, we miss out on the power it holds.

Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel.

In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!

We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.

We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you preach the gospel to yourself.

So-Great-a-Salvation, preaching-the-gospel-to-yourself, gospel series, sanctification, justification, reconciliation, adoption

How to use this series:

To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.

Gospel Words:

Justification by Arabah

Sanctification by Jen

Redemption by Rebekah

Reconciliation by Kathy

Regeneration by Marci

Atonement by Leah

Adoption by Kerry

Consecration by Kimberly

Sanctification

In the Old Testament, there is little mention of the word sanctification. In fact, the NIV doesn’t use that particular word at all, while the NASB mentions of sanctification refer to only a single Hebrew word “qadash” (kaw-dash’).

Qadash mostly described objects which were “set apart” for use by God. These were not ordinary objects meant for everyday use, but special items such as those used in the tabernacle by the priests (ceremonial items, the ark of the covenant, etc.). Thus, qadash refers to the uncommon, those things or people (mainly priests) set apart strictly for the Lord.

In the New Testament, however, we see a different sort of sanctification. Two Greek words are used by both the NIV and NASB: hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo),  the verb form which means to make holy or to sanctify, and hagiasmos  (hag-ee-as-mos’), the noun form which means sanctification or holiness.  Both words also relate to hagios (hag’-ee-os), the adjective form used to describe us as Christians.

In essence, to sanctify means to make holy.  However, the New Testament version of making holy describes a process, the process by which the common (mankind) is set apart and made uncommon!

Big gospel words like sanctification can be slightly intimidating.  Read here to find out why sanctification is so important and how it gives us great hope for today!

 

Sanctification broken down into 3 P-words:

  1. Position – In Christ, we are considered sanctified before the Lord. We are already perfect, already uncommon, already complete because of Christ’s blood covering over us. When the Father looks at us, He sees not the work that still needs to be done; instead, He sees only the blood of his perfect Son. The work of positional sanctification takes place the moment we accept God’s free gift of forgiveness through His Son’s death on the cross in payment for our sins. So, for those of us who are in Christ, positional sanctification is in the past – it’s a work already accomplished.
  2. Progress – Although we are positionally perfect in Christ, realistically we know that sin keeps us from perfection. Thus, progressive sanctification refers to the process of growing in Christ-likeness. It is the present and continuing form of sanctification, that work in progress that I speak of so often here.  As we grow in Christ-likeness, His image reflected in us becomes more and more clear!
  3. Perfection – There is also a future component to sanctification. One day, when life on this earth ends for us, we will be made complete in Christ.  At that point in time, the work in progress will be finished!  Sin will mar us no more. We will bear the Father’s image perfectly, and the view God has of us on behalf of His Son will match our true character! Just imagine – no more struggling to do right, no more guilt, no more frustration with self!

How-Sanctification-Gives-Us-Hope, sanctification, set-apart, identity in Christ, preach-the-gospel-to-yourself-series, gospel words,

How sanctification applies to everyday life: 

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

While we know our position in Christ is secure, we recognize the need for continuing change, for progress.  We know we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we allow the Lord to mold us into His image.

Therefore, sanctification is a combination of our willingness to follow Christ in obedience and His powerful work in our lives to free us from sin.  According to the verses above from Romans, we offer our bodies and minds; God transforms them. The evidence of the sanctification process in us? The fruit of the Spirit. :)

This quote from J. I. Packer defines it well.

“God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14).”

The worst thing we can possibly do as Christians is to relegate our Redeemer to the work of salvation, yet bar Him from the work of sanctification.

If we trust Christ for eternity, but not for the day to day, then we limit His power! We fail to find freedom and the abundant life He has planned for us.

My friends, the power of Christ in us is real. His promise to make us into new creations is not just for some distant future when we become complete in Him, but it’s for today! Right now! Moment by moment.

Our Savior came to free us from sin, not just from the guilt of sin, but from the chains of sin itself.

This is the goal of sanctification – freeing us to become whom He meant us to be from the very beginning – His image bearers.

Perfect.

Holy.

Set-apart.

Uncommon.

So we can claim the promise of my life verse, Phil. 1:6, which perfectly sums up the 3 P-words of sanctification. (Key verse to memorize!)

“[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine)

He began the work (position); He carries it on (progress); He promises completion (perfection).

I’ve been reminded of this truth often this winter. There comes a time in the Midwest when the landscape becomes a palette of brownish gray dead things.  The grass is dead. The trees are dead. And unless there is fresh snow, the roads become ugly gray muck.

At some point, it seems as if spring will never come.

But as I looked out our window the other day, I noticed a tree that was budding.  Even beneath the snow, you could see the slight redness of the buds. Although the tree looked dead, important work was taking place beneath the surface of what I first saw.

Growth.

And in several weeks, we will see the fully glory of that work when all of nature bursts forth in colorful re-birth.

Spring.

New Life.

Hope.

As I contemplated these things, the Lord reminded me of how often this scenario plays out in my own spiritual landscape.  At times, it seems my progress is stunted – there is too much “deadness” about me, too much sin.  I see only gray and become easily overwhelmed and discouraged.

But beneath the surface, He is doing important work in me. I may not see all of the fruits of sanctification yet, but they will come! And when they do, they will be glorious to behold!

So, the next time you feel overwhelmed by your own sin, stuck in a rut, doomed to failure – preach the gospel truth of sanctification to yourself.

“I am God’s work in progress. As such, I aim not for perfection but for imperfect progress (growth and transformation), only by the power of Christ in me. In the meantime, I trust His promise to carry that work to completion.”

This, my friends, this is the hope of sanctification.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Wholehearted Wednesdays, The Homemaking Party, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R and R

Help for “Waist Watchers” ~ #GraceTruth Week 3

As soon as I saw the title of this post from Sarah Ann in the link-up last week, I knew I had to read it. I’m ever so glad I did because her words and the verses she shared encouraged me as I persevere in my health goals! Of course, after reading her post, I knew it had to be my feature for this week because it fits right in with the work the Lord is doing in my life lately. I think all women could benefit from what she has shared here, so be sure to stop by and visit Sarah Ann at Faith Along the Way this week.

 

Yesterday, I wrote about a setback I had in regards to my workout regimen. I’ve been slowly regaining strength and endurance, for which I am very thankful. I know the Lord is teaching me to persevere, my word for the year, even in this area – especially since my track record has not been great. As soon as I hit a road-bump in working out or weight loss, I tend to get frustrated and give up. By the grace of God, not this year!

I hope you all will join us for the link-up below and receive some encouragement. Next week we’ll announce the winner of our fabulous giveaway!

Jen :)

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

 

Satisfaction Through Christ
BLOG
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Kaylene Yoder
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

The Brown Tribe
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Arabah Joy
BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | G+

A Divine Encounter
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | G+ | STUMBLEUPON

Leah Adams
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Being Confident of This
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Busy Being Blessed
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Sharing Redemption’s Stories
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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