January 2014 Newsletter – Pressing Toward the Prize

by David Jones
Restoration Path Ex. Director

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

Other than military personal, I have never witnessed a long distance runner carrying burdens on his/her back. When I was in high school we had a cross country runner who refused to wear shoes when he ran because he felt weighted down. Today’s runners wear ultra light clothing and shoes in order to gain the slightest advantage and improved times. The same thing is true in the marathon race called life. The race of life becomes even more difficult when we carry the burdens of our past. Paul’s instruction to the church of Philippi is good advice for us today in navigating the trials of life and reaching for the prize of fulfilling our calling. There are 2 questions that arise with this instruction. How do we leave the past behind and what are these burdens we carry?

Let’s address the latter question first. What are the burdens we carry that hinder our pressing forward? There are numerous answers to this question but I will only address 2 of them. I have listened to many hurting person’s story through my 35 plus years in counseling. The burdens of shame and falsehoods appear to be prevalent throughout most of them. The messages of shame come through acts that were done to us or we committed ourselves. Shame can also present itself through our perception or within reality itself. When the message of shame is reinforced and repeated over time it then becomes the filter by which we view things of the present. Through the use of guilt we will grab these shameful events and carry them into the present. When we attempt to move forward in being used by God, the shame tells us we are unworthy, disgraceful and disappointing.

The other burden we carry is the lies, falsehoods or false beliefs we tell ourselves. These falsehoods are developed over time and through repetition. We have all heard the old adage “If you tell a kid he is stupid long enough then he will believe it.” We live in a world that consistently reinforces falsehoods that don’t agree with God’s truth. The world consistently tells us we are valued based upon how well we perform and others opinions of that performance. Through repetition over time we come to believe these lies and filter today’s situations through them.

So, what is the solution to leaving these burdens behind and pressing forward? Most burdens of shame are tied to the issue of un-forgiveness. We have not forgiven those who shamed us or we have not allowed God’s forgiveness into the areas were we have sinned.

Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (NKJV)

Paul does not instruct the church to forgive when we “feel” like it, when it makes sense or conditioned upon the offenders acknowledging their wrongs. He commands us to forgive in spite of conditions, feelings or circumstances. If you are not a Christian you can be as un-forgiving as you wish but as a Christian we are to model the same forgiveness shown to us through His Son. A forgiveness with no strings attached

How do we address the lies or falsehoods we carry? Most Christians either don’t understand spiritual warfare or don’t know how to participate in it.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (NKJV)

Here is a very simple exercise. Take 5 index cards. On one side write out a lie you tell yourself. On the other side write scriptures that refute this lie. Every time you leave your home place these cards in your pocket. When one of those lies comes toward you that day, take out your cards and choose to “cast down this argument” or lie and agree with God’s Truth. You are now doing spiritual warfare and through repetition over time you bring your thoughts into obedience with His Truth

Many people recovering from sexual and relational sin will relapse into old patterns if they do not cast off the burdens they carry. The longer we carry burdens we are not designed to carry the more desperate we become to find an escape. Satan is more than willing to offer the counterfeit refuge of the fantasy world. If you are struggling with the burdens of un-forgiveness, shame and guilt or plagued with lies, then give us a call. We want to come along side you and aide you as you cast off these burdens and press toward the prize.

About Restoration Path

Restoration Path is a Christian discipleship ministry that exists to restore those trapped in sexual and relational sin through the power of Jesus Christ. Through our online workshop, individual biblical counseling, support groups, custom Intensive programs, we seek to empower men and women to embrace their identity in Christ. Our passion is to encourage people to posture themselves to receive God’s healing in their deep areas of emotional wounding, learn to meet their relational needs in healthy ways, and make good choices that harmonize with their deeply felt moral convictions. We encourage you to browse our list of programs and contact us with any questions. Click here to read more ...

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