Your Personal Best 7: Jubilee / Pressing on
"Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. " Leviticus 25:10
"I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain." 1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 2
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Philippians 3:10-12
We just finished a 6 part series where we are all striving to reach a new “personal best” in our relationship with God. In the last study, we looked at being active ambassadors for God and Jesus. This week we celebrate! We celebrate what God has done in us, through us, and around us! We celebrate what’s new and different. We encourage each other with the growth we have seen, and we commit to continuing to become more like Jesus.
The jubilee was a celebration, a new beginning from God. Imagine a celebration that lasted for a whole year! Every 50 years the people of Israel got a fresh start. Many got a chance to be generous, by giving back land they had purchased from a struggling family. The struggling families experienced mercy: God’s mercy shown through the faithful obedience of the people who returned the land, often for less than it was worth.
What growth have you seen in yourself and in others? Talk about it. Encourage others. Thank God for the growth you see. Spiritual growth is not something that can be counted or measured, like measuring how fast someone can run. It shows up in the choices we make, the attitudes we choose, our increased willingness to serve others. It’s visible in the lessons we learn, the parts of the Bible we explore, how eager we are to do what is good (Titus 2:11-14). If you and the people around you have spent six weeks with a daily focus on walking with God and growing your relationships, you had a lot to write down and you have a lot to celebrate this week. Don’t think, “I’m too busy to celebrate.” Reflect. Rejoice. Recharge.
Recognizing Success: Whether or not you reached a day that was better than your previous best, you succeeded in growing your relationship with God. Your life was more satisfying, more impacting, and more like Jesus than if you had just coasted along. You walked with God, and you helped others to do the same. You participated more fully in God’s divine nature. You were down on the field with Jesus, not up in the stands or outside the stadium.
Jesus wants us to continue (or to start) growing: Some of us never got beyond our good intentions. James says, “Such faith will not save you.” (James 2:14-25). Today is always the best day to continue or start working on your relationship with God. This is not the time to coast. Start planning for the next 7 weeks. There are limits to how much we can grow physically, but no limits to how much (or how often) we can grow spiritually.
I press on… Faithful to the end: The Bible states in many places that a good beginning is not enough. We need to finish what we started. God gives us the strength we need, the faith we need, everything we need so we can live faithfully and die faithful.
Actions for Study #7:
A. Celebrate! Plan a party with the people you’ve been praying with or encouraging. Talk together to decide on a theme. Take pictures. Make it memorable. Everyone could share about which week helped the most.
B. Think about the last 6 studies. What are some changes you want to last? Pray about those changes. Thank God for the changes and ask Him to make them permanent. Include them in your plan for the next 7 weeks.
C. Study out and memorize 2 Peter 1: 5-11. How does growing in all of these areas relate to “participating in the divine nature” from the previous verse? Do you believe the promise that “if you do these things, you will never fall”? What are some other Scriptures that tie into this one? What happens when we stop growing spiritually?
D. Plan. Act on the plan. One suggestion: You can order a copy of Deep Convictions from Discipleship Publications International (DPI, www.dpibooks.org ). It’s a workbook that will help you focus daily on your relationship with God.
E. Help someone else get started “participating in the divine nature”.
Links to previous Quiet Times