The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from Ps. 119:1-80; Rom. 9-16; Eph. 1-6; Phil. 1-4; Col. 1-4; and 1 Tim. 1-4.
As believers, we all have the same beginnings (Col. 1:13-14). We were conveyed from darkness into the kingdom of God by the blood of Christ. Although the details of our individual stories may differ, we all needed rescuing.
Even if our personal stories had a dramatic start, the daily living out of our salvation can be challenging. Finishing well is the goal, to hear from the Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23, NKJV). So, how do we manage the middle of our spiritual journey—the daily challenges that prepare us for future opportunities that will present themselves?
Most of my ministry life has been given to the development of leaders, from my early personal development as a leader and in the past 20 years, where my primary focus has been on developing emerging leaders. Through the years, I have discovered three keys that I consider foundational for managing the middle:
- Never forget your beginning. The places I find myself, and all the opportunities that present themselves in my life, are because of what the Lord accomplished at the cross. My identity is not based on what I will undertake, but in whom I have placed my faith and in His ability to rescue me and transform me by His Spirit. So, in short, stay humble.
- Gifting cannot exceed character. How I live my life when no one is looking does matter. My ability to perform in front of an audience is merely a work of the flesh when it does not have a foundation in a daily relationship with the Lord. That daily walk must be marked by spending time in the Word, listening to His voice and submitting to His direction in the small and great details of each day. I believe this daily discipline of yielding to the Lord builds character and protects me from living a flesh-centered life. No matter how successful or “religious” I may appear, when it comes from the flesh, God is not glorified. I must choose to live my life valuing what God sees more than what people see. So, live in the fear of the Lord.
- Forget what is behind, and reach forward to what is ahead. I recently finished my doctorate after a long season of study and research. I mistakenly felt I should finally rest on my laurels and feel that I had arrived. It is so easy as a leader to plateau after success instead of heeding the counsel of Paul: “I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14, NASB). If my stories are of days gone by and not current, then I am living in what is behind me. I must press on to be ready for what God is doing today. So, be current in the life of the kingdom.
I don’t know of any believer today who does not want to be used by the Lord. As opportunities come your way, remember that opportunities are how God continues the good work He began in you at the beginning of your story. So, in this part of your life that is the middle—after the beginning and before the end—you must never forget your beginning; do not believe that gifting exceeds character; and you must forget what is past and reach forward to what lies ahead. You don’t want to miss any adventure that comes your way.
By: Karen Tremper, associate professor of Bible and Theology at Life Pacific College in San Dimas, Calif.
Download the yearlong reading plan (PDF, 80 KB), or sign up for the full, online version of the Life Journal. To purchase a Life Journal for your own use, or to place a bulk order for church-wide use, visit FoursquareJournal.com. Learn more about Foursquare's 2013 Life Journal project.