Level Up – Vanessa Gilpin

In this season our Church has been challenged to step up and take things to the next level in our faith, in our life and in our excellence. It’s a great challenge but an exciting one all the same. I had been thinking a fair bit over what to write for my blog and a recent game of Mario gave me some inspiration!

So, imagine a Mario game, simple, little Mario running along a path filled with obstacles, jumps, assents, descents and the occasional pit fall. A lengthy path behind and a lengthy path ahead but all the time trying to ‘Level Up’ … to get to the next stage… reach the next milestone. Pretty much like life, right?

1. Life’s pitfalls and obstacles–
We’d love to think that once you’ve given your life to Jesus there would no longer be any obstacles and life would just be a coasting journey to the pearly white gates. Not so likely, life can be pretty intense sometimes and many times I’ve wondered do I deserve this? Have I drawn the short straw or something?

Certainly life can sometimes be challenging but since starting Accelerate I’ve learnt to see these seasons of life as pruning seasons, seasons that are there to build character within me. John 15:2 states that ‘He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful’. We often prune trees so that, firstly the tree looks more beautiful to the onlooker, but it also means that new healthy shoots can grow in the dead shoots place.

When God is working in us He is working at detaching us from dead works so that we can have room for life-giving things and so that our lives can be pleasing to look at for those around us.

2. It’s never game over–
In the Mario game you often have to jump many of these pitfalls and obstacles sometimes you miss or you jump too soon or too late and your lives start diminishing one by one before it’s #gameover!! Well, with God it is never game over! God’s grace is endless and undeserved. We can meet the same pitfall on level one time and time again but God will pick us up and revive us every single time we fall. His love is so perfect that he can never turn away from us. Psalms 145:14 highlights this when it says ‘The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down’

3. Perseverance–
To level up we need to preserve. My final Mario analogy is the need to persevere. I admit I struggle to get past level one on Mario, I genuinely just don’t have the knack for it.  There can be seasons in life when we feel that were not going to make it to the next stage, that we keep having those ‘yet again’ moments or  when things don’t happen in the time frame we expected. In these moments God wants us to push into him and activate perseverance. Romans 3:5 put this nicely when it says ‘Not only so, but let us also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope’.

When we keep moving forward no matter what, we level up. Perseverance is character building and determination to overcome trials brings us into a brighter, stronger place. Although stepping up may seem like a challenge we can count on God being with us through the whole journey. With Him all things are possible. 

Accelerate has encouraged me to level up and step up knowing that God’s grace and blessing will be with me through the whole journey. By stepping up we show people what it is like to live in God’s promises.

Vanessa Gilpin
C7 Accelerate Year 1 Student

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