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.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
Paul was just a tent maker, and after meeting Jesus he was later able to say, “Look at how I live. Do what we do; imitate me as I imitate Christ.” “But, most of the time, the Holy Spirit’s power is released in our life in quiet, unassuming ways that we aren’t even aware of or feel…We allow Christ to live through us.” (Rick Warren, Daily Hope Blog, 6/7/12.)
Here are some suggestions on how to be an imitator of Christ and live a successful life:
1. Face Facts – We are broken and we will always continue to reach toward what Jesus taught us to do. You could say, “See how far I have come,” but in a quote from the writer and preacher Rick Warren, he simply states, “Look how far I still have to go.” We will always be reaching towards the goal until we see Jesus!
2. Transformation – Some of us look at what we are not. However, for our emotional health and positive mindset, we need to change our mind and change how we see ourselves. A famous artist, Dan Keplinger, had no arms, yet he continues to pursue his great artistic talent and gift while holding the paint brush in his mouth. He saw himself as a successful artist and made it happen. Another example is Paul when he was transformed from a Pharisee, on of the élite of the élite, who was originally in hot pursuit of anyone who followed the Christ, and he would even stand present and hold the clothing of those that killed any who followed the teachings of our Jesus. Yet he was transformed into one of the great saints of all time. Hint: Get as close to Jesus as possible by things like reading your Bible, daily devotions, a special time of prayer, continuous prayer, attending Worship and praising God for who He is, and always thanking Him for who He is and what He has and continues to do in our lives!
3. Spiritual Amnesia – Forget about your past failures; don’t be limited by failures in your life! Also, do not hold on to your past successes. Keep moving forward, remembering that true life requires some risk. Ask God what it is that He wants you to let go of to move onward. The Bible promises us that we become a new creation, and that new mercies our available to us every morning. God will lead you toward new successes.
4. Concentrate – In other words, find your “one thing” and FOCUS! Strive toward the “goal” and what God has ahead of you. Two things that we are all to reach for is that we are a.) to please God and to have faith in Him. We don’t need to understand all there is about God; no one can have that much understanding about such a Huge God; and b.) interact with God; have talks with God, ask Him what he wants us to do, and listen to what He says in His word and listen to His whisper or an impression, or a still soft voice . . .
5. Determination – PERSEVERE! Run the race to receive the prize; be a “hall-of-famer!”
“LISTEN ~ ~ ~ FOLLOW ~ ~ ~ LOVE”
This saying is from God to Kim, from Kim to Mark, from Mark to me, and from me to all of you!