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Giving Up Self
Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I don't regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:12-14 (WEB)
A few weeks ago, a co-worker asked me what I had to give up to lose 30 pounds. My response was "Nothing. I can eat whatever I want. I just have to fit it into my allowances for the day." Later, I thought, "That's not correct." What I gave up was myself--my selfish desire to eat whatever I wanted or to sleep later in the morning, rather than getting up to exercise and read my Bible. What I gained was worth so much more.
I gained a renewed commitment to follow the healthy, well-balanced lifestyle that I knew God always intended for me to follow, but which I had taken a major detour from many years ago. I am certainly not following that lifestyle perfectly now, but the changes are definite and, with God's help, lifelong.
I still struggle when the alarm clock goes off at 4:50 each weekday morning. I want to stay in bed for another hour, but on most days, I get up anyway.
My plan is to walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes while I read from the Bible that rests on the treadmill's console. As long as I go straight to the treadmill and get started, this plan works. There are those days, however, when I allow myself to get sidetracked by my email or something else that needs to be done.
I know this will be a continuing struggle, for Satan would love to be able to boast that he has kept another Christian from doing what she knows to do.
I'm a goal-oriented fighter, empowered by God's Holy Spirit, and I refuse to give up and let Satan have the victory in any struggle. Although Jesus Christ has already won the war, there are many battles yet to be fought. Like the Apostle Paul, I choose to forget what lies in the past and "press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
When that alarm goes off tomorrow morning, I will once again enter the battle, wearing God's armor and following his commands. Look out treadmill, here I come!
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me your armor with which to ward off the flaming darts of the evil one. Help me each moment of each day to lay aside the sin that so easily entangles me and, instead, to press on toward the goal for the prize to which you have called me. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.
Father, I surrender this day all of my selfish desires. I give you all of my life. Take it and use it for your glory. In Jesus' holy and precious name I pray. Amen.
Copyright 2006, Star M. Ferdinand.
Star Ferdinand is the author of The Prayerful Bible Study Series of study guides, numerous devotionals, and other Christian writings. You can read more of her writings at starferdinand.wordpress.com.
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