Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The Higher Calling - Part 1 - My Utmost for His Highest
This week Michael writes that we're all on a journey to become like Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said, "I want to know him and the power of the resurrection that I may obtain the resurrection from among the dead... I press toward the mark of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus." Our Lord has brought us to a "garden" where we can walk with him and talk with him ... Where he tells us we are His own. God is continually calling His children to His upward calling both in this life and the next. According to Isaiah 55, God's thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. However, He has placed His seed within us when we were “born again” This is our new nature of the righteousness of God in Christ in us. We now have Christ's heart behind our heart, His eyes behind our eyes, His ears behind our ears, His feet behind our feet, His hands behind our hands and His tongue behind our tongue. Our prayer is that we may grow up into Him, the author and finisher of our faith. Prior to the verse in Isaiah 55, the prophet mentions that God will blot out His people’s sin and transgressions. This was accomplished by the full payment of our debt of sin by Jesus Christ upon the cross, for He who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Only by God's mercy and grace can we press toward the mark of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. Our loving Heavenly Father has called us unto a new way of life and living ... Behold all things are new. Old things have passed away for he has given us a new spiritual nature. Therefore we can rejoice as did Jeremiah, "morning by morning new mercies I see."
Because of the hope of the resurrection, we have been called to a higher way of thinking. Therefore, we can now walk in a manner worthy of Him ... to give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writing from a Roman prison penned these words to the church in Philippians 1:20: According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. The question is not whether we will live or die. According to the Word of God, "it is appointed for all men once to die." The question is whether or not I will glorify Christ in both life and death. Oswald Chambers wrote a devotional called "My Utmost for His Highest." Regarding this verse Chambers said, "My eager desire is that I will continue to do honor to Christ by fearless courage whether I live or die. We will all be ashamed if we do not yield to him in all areas of our lives where he has asked us to yield to him. It's as if Paul were saying that my determined purpose is my utmost for his highest ... My best for His glory. To reach that level of devotion is a matter of the will, not of debate or reasoning. It is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will at that point. An undue and insidious thought for ourselves is what keeps us from making that decision. Therefore shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in one thing only, my utmost for his highest...to live for him and him alone."
Therefore we preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. For it is unto them that are perishing the stench of death unto death. But unto them that believe, it is the sweet smelling fragrance of life unto life – 2 Corinthians 2:16. As Paul said in Romans 1:16-17, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
Let's continues Michael's message on "The Higher Calling" on tomorrow's post.
In Christ, Brian