Christ is Infinitely Better – #Philippians 3:1-16
I love the Apostle Paul. Paul is the writer of some of the most theologically profound exhortations in the Bible. His words and letters are some of the most soul-cleansing, sin-killing, heart-transforming, Christ-treasuring words of the Bible. He was certainly anointed by God. His words do something to my heart, soul, and spirit. His words help me to love Christ more. I want to write with such impact for the Kingdom of God. I want to be so filled with the Spirit of the Lord when I write that men and women are pierced, convicted, uplifted, encouraged, edified, rebuked, corrected, and transformed…all in love. I want to write for the glory of God in such a way that lives are changed.
I’m getting there. By the grace of God. I’ve been a writer for years…all my life it seems…and I love it with a passion. However, I’ve only been a writer for God for three years. Three years, one blog, one ministry, two servant-leader roles, two books, three social media pages – all devoted completely to God? Not bad. God can definitely redeem the time. Though I will tell you: You need God to serve in His Kingdom. You need God to write for His Kingdom. Writing for God is completely different than any other kind of writing. When you are writing for God, it must be taken seriously. You must spend time in the presence of the Lord. You must seek Him. You must learn from Him. You must glean from Him. You must sit under the Word and be taught by Him. When writing for Him, you are not the one writing. God gives you the words to write. You have to be led by the Spirit. The Spirit has to lead you…compel you to write. And I can always tell when it’s the Holy Spirit and not me…because it just flows. Effortlessly. If there isn’t a move of the Holy Spirit, I don’t write. Simple.
It’s simple now, but I struggled with this for a while – because writing had always come easy for me. But when you are surrendered to the Lord, you move when He says move. You write when He says write. You speak when He says speak. You teach when He says teach. Definitely humbling for a writer who feels as if she should be able to write, speak, teach, etc. at the drop of a dime (and continue in that manner) as soon as an assignment or task is placed in front of her. But sometimes, God gives the assignment then prepares. I’ve learned this. Interesting, I know. His ways are not our ways…
For a while, God was silent as it relates to the next book I had been working on with Him. I had become discouraged because I had (or thought I had) the book written, and in my mind I envisioned it being published by the end of 2015. But God was telling me: Wait. And so I did. Anything I do for Him, I want it to be blessed by Him. So I waited.
There were a few more things He wanted to teach me in the waiting. There were a few more things He wanted to prepare me for. He also wanted me to move forward with fearlessness. He wanted me to have enough courage and boldness to speak about topics that are unpopular. He wanted me to be the unique voice that He created me to be, and not be afraid to share some of the most painful parts of my story.
He allowed me to keep the majority of the original material, but as an extended chapter with short stories (I still don’t know how this is going to work!) He also changed the title of the book. He changed the outline. He altered the theme, focus, and direction of the book. It all makes sense now as I write…and as He leads me. And as always, I say: Wow. God, you are awesome.
The moral of the story is this: There are times when you must continue to believe in the dream even when it seems as if it may have died. If God Himself gave you the dream, it will never die. He may tell you to wait. He may tell you to alter the course or the direction. He may tell you to draw near to Him and seek Him for guidance. He may tell you to add a few things. He may even tell you to scrap everything you currently have, and start over. Anew. Fresh. It’s imperative that we listen to Him. I waited to be led by God. I no longer just move. I wait to be led by God. God’s way is infinitely better.
This week, as I took time away to unplug from everything to hear from the Lord, He had His way with me and my writing. After obeying Him and spending time in His presence, I had an amazing week of writing. And I am so unbelievably happy! If you are a writer, you can understand. I thought this dream was dying. I was beginning to believe that God was saying to me: No. I don’t want you to write about this anymore. But in my heart, I knew it wasn’t true. God is never wrong. God never makes mistakes. This was discouragement and doubt creeping in.
Your dream has not died. Be patient in the waiting. God wants to teach you some things.
But back to Paul’s writing in Philippians 3:1-16. It is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It was a passage that comforted me in the midst of extreme loss….and to this day, it still comforts me. And, Paul and I…we have several things in common. His familial and religious background, his struggles, his life before and after his conversion. I am sure this is one of the reasons why I identify with his writing so much!
Paul was in prison when he wrote to the Philippian church. At the time, the Philippian church was in dire circumstances, and they were also being afflicted. Paul begins the passage by saying to them (and to himself) in verse 1: Rejoice in the Lord. Despite your circumstances. Despite your loss. Despite your pain and affliction. Despite anything that could ever happen to you in this life.
The reason why this passage – Philippians 3:1-16 – encourages me so much is because I’ve experienced every kind of loss you can imagine as it relates to the temporal. I understand Paul. I can relate to Paul. And every single time I experienced a loss in the past, the pain sent me into a depression. But God would not allow me to stay there. Jesus would not allow me to remain there. Jesus was – and still is – my anchor and my hope in the midst of pain and loss. God and His Spirit was – and still is – my comforter. My strength. My refuge. My help.
I may have experienced tons of losses, but what I’ve gained is Christ.
And as a result of these experiences, I’ve learned to put my trust in the eternal alone. I have learned that nothing else matters other than who we are in Christ and what we do for Christ.
This is why I want to proclaim to you today: Christ is infinitely better. End of sentence. This is what Paul is saying to us in this passage. Of course we could choose to be grammatically and politically correct and say: Christ is infinitely better than…and list a million things that would completely pale in comparison. But we would just be wasting space and time. Christ is infinitely better. That’s it.
I pray you know what I mean when I say this. I pray that you, through your own personal experiences and collisions with life and truth, have tasted and seen just how good God and His Son Jesus Christ is, and can say: Christ is infinitely better. I pray you know what this means deep down in your heart and soul. And if you do not, I pray you will come to know what it means. I pray that God and the Holy Spirit will show you.
Some of the themes mentioned in this blog post will be included in my next book (one of the reasons why I mentioned my book writing in this post!) I expound upon the “Christ is infinitely better” statement and the authority behind it. Why not just say Christ is best? Why choose the words infinitely better? You’ll have to wait patiently for more reasons why in my upcoming book. I have no date for the book – sometime in 2016 I’m guessing! Hopefully, sooner than later. I’m following God’s lead, though. And He’s working. And moving. Always has been. Always will be.
Happy New Year! You made it through another year with God. Is He not amazing?!! He is SO worthy to be praised.
I love you so much. And God loves you so much more. He loves you perfectly and infinitely.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Founder, Love Is A Lifestyle
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