Welcome to Daily Steps!
Please visit the Sermon Series Resource page for additional instruction and/or guidance on how to navigate Daily Steps.
Philippians 3:13-14 — “Brothers and sisters, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Finding the Power to Press On
Have you ever read a Bible passage and thought to yourself, “That verse sounds great, but I’m not a spiritual superhero, like Moses, David, James, or Paul. I have no idea how to accomplish what that verse is telling me to do.” Over and over, we read in Scripture to trust God, to love others unconditionally, extend grace, give generously, and a seemingly endless list of so many other good, but incredibly daunting commands or instructions. We love the idea of implementing the truth of these verses into our lives, and we long to see the results of doing so, but time and time again, we feel discouraged with our abilities, commitment level, and endurance. If it’s not a weakness from within ourselves, then there always seems to be a new set of challenging circumstances getting in our way. And when our faith feels weak, we have an enemy waiting in the wings who will stop at nothing to wrap the chains of shame around our hearts and lock the shackles of doubt over our minds.
If this describes you today, take heart, because you — as a treasured son or daughter of the King — are not alone! We all feel that way at some point, and for many of us, that time is right now. Pandemics and other crises, whether they be personal or global, can leave even the most mature believer deeply shaken and feeling like they’ve failed in some way. Across the world, Christians are physically separated, but we could not be more united and connected in our universal need to press into Jesus for His strength, love, and protection. No matter how grim the circumstances or how much you’re struggling to find joy or peace, shame is not — and never will be — your crown to wear. The cross covers our need to wrestle with doubts, fears, worries, and failures. You can bring anything to the feet of Jesus and be assured of His covering, cleansing love. Perfection and performance are never required, so don’t let any voice tell you otherwise.
Even Paul endured highs and lows in his faith. He may have told the Philippians to imitate his life and walk with Jesus, but he reminds them that perfection is not possible. For emphasis, he declares this fact not once, but twice. Philippians 3:12-13 says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” Notice that Paul says Jesus took “hold” of him. It is because of what Jesus did — and is continuing to do in his life — that empowers and compels him to keep going. And then, in the latter half of verse 13, Paul reveals the secret to success in pressing on in our faith. He says to “forget what’s behind” and keep your focus on what’s ahead. The Passion Translation puts it this way: “I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.”
In the days and weeks ahead, each of us will stumble in our faith. Some days we may wake up feeling drained, discouraged, and more than likely downright cranky. Joy may seem elusive. And peace may feel impossible. But Jesus is right there, within us, whispering to our hearts... “I get it. It’s okay not to be okay, but keep reminding yourself that you don’t have to stay there. And you don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed because you went there in the first place. Turn your eyes to me. Allow me to shift your perspective, as many times as you need it. Let me do what I took hold of you for in the first place. It’s not your effort, ability, or endurance. It’s mine. All mine. But you do have to yield and release your control, your pride, and your need for self-preservation. Let me pick you up, dear one. Raise your eyes, stand up, and run toward me again. You will make it. I know you will because I’m running with you all the way.”
Bible Readings with Prayer Prompts
As you contemplate these passages throughout the week, make time to pray before you read them and then again afterward. In each reading, ask God to show you what the verses mean specifically for you. God’s Word is alive, so even if you’re familiar with these Scriptures, approach them with an expectant heart and an open mind. God wants to converse with you.
Monday - Write down your greatest fear, worry, or frustration. Read Zephaniah 3:17 and Jude 1:24-25, and then listen to song #4 “You Make Me Brave” from this playlist. In that spirit of worship, ask Jesus to bring you out of fear and frustration into a focus on Him that erupts into the fullness of joy. Spend time worshipping Jesus for “taking hold of you” for a purpose that He will bring to fruition.
Tuesday - Read Ephesians 2:8-10 in the New Living Translation and the New International Version. Ask God to remind you that you are His masterpiece, no matter how you’re feeling. Ask Him to reveal to you any areas of your life where you need to open up and let Him do His work.
Thursday - Read Psalm 139:13-16 and Jeremiah 1:5 at least two times, slowly. Pray and ask God to speak to your heart about any area of your life where you are struggling with believing that He loves you regardless of your previous decisions and actions. Re-read the scriptures one more time and then write down what you sense the Holy Spirit whispering to your heart.
Friday - Read the story of Paul and Silas in jail from Acts 16. Reflect on how remarkable their ordeal was and the role that praising God played in helping them. Ask God to help you turn to Him in song more often. Spend time in prayer asking God to help you react in praise rather than anger, frustration, guilt, shame, or bewilderment.
Invite God's Presence
Select one or two of these spiritual practices to try this week. For ideas on how to practice these and why they are beneficial, watch the brief video series about Daily Steps at the bottom of this resource page.
- Worship by singing along with your favorite praise tunes
- Meditate on a verse from this week’s readings
- Be still and listen for at least 5 minutes
- Spend time outdoors in solitude (i.e. a walk in nature)
- Journal about the ways you see God moving
- Create (paint, sculpt, draw, write poetry or music, etc.)
- Fast from something that allows you to spend more time with God