Wow. It’s been a long time since my last post. Do I have an excuse? Sure. I have several. Work? Yep. Stress. Of course. Laziness because I’m tired from work and stress? Absolutely. Are any of these excuses acceptable to God? Are they good excuses for not doing what He has willed you to do in life? Will He look at them and say, “Guy…it’s okay that you didn’t honor Me or glorify Me or put Me first. I understand. You do what you need to do.” No. I don’t think He will.
I know that our Father is a kind and beneficent God. I know that He forgives and that He really does understand. However, I also know that He demands obedience. And when we don’t give Him that…when we try to tackle life on our own and don’t put Him first in everything we do, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. That failure will continue until one of two things happen: 1) we lose everything that means so little in the grand scheme of things or 2) we become so broken that we have no choice but to get on our knees and ask for His continued forgiveness of our ineptitude. At that point, you have another two choices. You can either: A) lay down and not get back up or B) put your big boy (or girl as the case may be) underwear (panties) on and persevere. My underwear is on, people.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been caught up in a lot of life’s hiccups. I’ve mentioned them plenty of times before, so there’s no need to go over them again. They’re things that you, me and a host of other people out there go through. And they have a tendency to bring us down and batter us until we feel like we can’t keep doing this. Or we ask ourselves why these things are happening to us. Regardless of your circumstances, God wants us to persevere through them and look to Him for help and reassurance. Not only do our lives here on Earth depend on it, but our eternal life in Heaven does as well. Which is why I feel led to give you two verses today…
“But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, PERSEVERANCE, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again…”
1 Timothy 6: 11-14
I’ve had perseverance on my mind a lot lately. Today I made the time to meditate and ask God about it. This was actually the second verse I found. And there are only two verses in my concordance dealing with it. Funny thing…as I read 1 Timothy, there was a pattern in the middle of the page. It was kind of muted, as if I smeared something on it. When I turned the page, I saw what the pattern was…an hourglass. Ever heard the saying, “Time marches on?” It is the epitome of perseverance.
The study guide says this about the verse…
“Paul (the author) uses active and forceful verbs to describe the Christian life: run, pursue, fight, hold tightly. Some think Christianity is a passive religion that advocates waiting for God to act. On the contrary, we must have an active faith, training, working hard, sacrificing, and doing what we know is right. Is it time for action on your part? Christian service, like athletics, requires training and sacrifice. Our discipline and obedience largely define whether or not we will be contributors or merely spectators. How would other believers rank your contributing role on Christ’s team?”
Lately, I’ve been relegated to the bench. I, for one, would much rather be a playmaker.
The second verse is actually the one I read first. It’s from Revelation.
“Because you have obeyed My command to PERSEVERE, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of My God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of My God, and they will be citizens in the city of My God- the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from My God. And I will also write on them My new name. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he (John) is saying to the churches.”
Revelation 3: 10-13
This is what I alluded to earlier. Our eternal life depends upon our perseverance as well. The guide has a lot to say about these verses, but one in particular stands out…
“Christians have different gifts, abilities, experience and maturity. God doesn’t expect us all to be and act the same, but he does expect us to “hold on” to what we have, to persevere in using our resources for Him. The Philadelphians (church, not city ) are commended for their effort to obey (3:8) and encouraged to hold tightly to whatever strength they have. You may be a new believer and feel that your faith and spiritual strength are little. Use what you have to live for Christ, and God will commend you.”
I’ll take that a step further. You also may be a devout Christian who has fallen into a rut. You may be a luke-warm Christian who is really introverted or unmotivated to speak out for Him. Or you may be a Christian who has a blog that God gave you to write who feels like he’s on a roller-coaster where life is grand one minute and smacks you in the face another. Regardless of where you are in your spiritual walk, and regardless of your circumstances, hold onto every bit of strength you can find and use that to persevere for Christ.
Which leads me to the lesson for your relationship: it’s not always going to be peachy, rosy and great. And when times are tough, emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically, you have to persevere with your faith in God leading the way.
Thank you, Father, for giving me the strength to persevere through my struggles. To you I give all the glory and honor and praise.
He will always be with you no matter what life throws your way.