About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

When Your Heart Longs for Something More - Encouragement for Today - May 2, 2016

Sharon Jaynes

May 2, 2016

When Your Heart Longs for Something More

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 (NIV)

I was alone, or at least I felt that way. Women huddled in happy clusters chatting about one thing, then another. Some propped babies on their hips. Others clutched Bibles in their hands.

Most wore smiles on their faces. I wore one too. But it didn’t reflect what was in my heart. My upturned lips were simply the camouflage I wore to blend in — to avoid being found out.

What I really wanted to do was run and hide. On the outside I was a normal mom, but on the inside I was a little girl cowering in the far recesses of the playground hoping no one would notice me.

What’s wrong with me? I wondered. Why don’t I feel the joy these other women feel? Where is that “abundant life” Jesus talked about? If I am a new creation like the Bible says, why don’t I feel like one? Why do I continue to act like the same old me, struggling with the same negative emotions and wrestling with the same old sins?

The problem was I was stuck. Yes, I had professed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. But I had a nagging feeling He meant something more than heaven when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b, NIV).

Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? The aerialist grabs the trapeze bar, jumps off a high platform and swings through the air. She swings out once, swings back above the platform and swings out again. During the peak of the third swing, the fun begins for those below.

The performer releases the bar mid-air and grabs hold of another bar or second performer hanging from his knees who swings toward her.

Once she grabs hold, the crowd exhales.

Somersaults, backflips and triple twists wow the crowd. Each move requires the performer to let go of one bar and grab another.

Without the faith to let go at just the right time, the trapeze artist would simply swing back and forth until the pumping momentum gave way to dangling or hanging, stuck between two platforms with hands clinging to both bars. Not the greatest show on earth.

And that described me for many years — trying to take hold of what God had for me but refusing to let go of what He didn’t.

And then I met Mary Marshall, an older woman in my church. She began to teach me about who I was as a child of God: holy, dearly loved, anointed, appointed, chosen, valuable to God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. She showed me I was free from condemnation and enveloped in grace.

Mary explained the truth of my new identity under the muck and mire of my stuck faith and encouraged me to move forward and live bold. But I had trouble believing it. I knew the truth in my head, but had trouble believing it was true for me.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12, emphasis added). When you fully grasp and make your own all that Jesus has already taken hold of for you, you begin to experience the life you’ve always longed for.

If we would grasp and make our own what Jesus has already done for us, and in us, our lives would look very different.

God’s power, provision and purposes are for “whosoever will” (Mark 8:34, KJV). Will what? Will let go of all that holds you back from experiencing the abundant life of the adventurous faith — and take hold of truth that makes it so.

One day I sat at a crossroads with God and decided I was going to believe I was who He said I was. Regardless of my past mistakes and failures, I would grasp hold of the truth I was forgiven and free. Regardless of my deep-seated struggles with worthlessness and insignificance, I was going to take hold of my new identity in Christ. To let go of the past, move forward in the present and live bold in the adventurous faith God intended all along.

And that’s what God wants for all of us. Ask yourself: Are you hanging on to something God is calling you to let go of? Shame? Resentment? Condemnation? Unbelief? Ingratitude? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? A false sense of who you are?

If He brings something to mind, let it go, move forward, live bold. The faith you’ve always longed for is just a decision away.

Lord, I don’t know why I hang on to my past — what has been done to me and the mistakes I’ve made. I don’t know why I have trouble believing what the Bible says about my new identity as a child of God. Today, I’m letting go. I am taking hold of all that Jesus has taken hold of for me. Give me the faith to make Your promises my own. Help me move forward in faith and live bold in courage. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Corinthians 2:9“but just as it is written [in Scripture], ‘Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].’”(AMP)

For more on letting go of all that holds you hostage from the past and taking hold of the exciting promises of God, see Sharon Jaynes’s new book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go. Move Forward. Live Bold.

To learn more about Sharon’s speaking availability, blog and other resources, visit www.sharonjaynes.com.

Enter to WIN a copy of Take Hold of the Faith You Long For by Sharon Jaynes. In celebration of this book, Sharon's publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, May 9.

What is one thing hindering your spiritual life that God is calling you to let go of today?

Leave a comment to complete this sentence: Today I am letting go of _______ and taking hold of _____________.

© 2016 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

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