Do you ever wish for a magic bullet, a one shot solution that solves a problem forever? I do! I’d like to preach one sermon that answers all the needs of the people in the pews, bring one ministry into being that could lead all of the people to a vibrant relationship with the Lord, or find the one tool that would assure that the work I do is always effective. You’re smiling, aren’t you? You’re right. There is no magic bullet!
Meeting life’s challenges requires steady effort, a persistent press against the natural tendency for all things to slide towards decay! Thanks to sin’s entry into Creation, flowers in our garden must be fed and watered. Weeds grow without care. The Word instructs us about this effort: “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT) The Spirit’s counsel is not to look for a magic bullet. Instead, God tells me to stick with the program: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36, NIV) Perseverance. Endurance. These words mean the ability “to persist in spite of opposing force,” and “to stand up under the pressure of adversity or stress.” It may seem that success comes to the ‘lucky’ or the talented. The fact is that success, which God defines as “finishing well,” comes to those who courageously stick with responsibility or relationship even when it hard!
It is important to do a heart check in all this. Stubbornness and conviction are next-door neighbors. The former is born of self, the latter of principle. There is a time to listen to wise counsel that points to the necessity of change. Only a stubborn fool takes pride in his unyielding commitment to a lost cause. A wise person holds onto the will of God, following Him into tomorrow, with his hope founded squarely on faith in the Promise of the Kingdom’s fulfillment.
Want to develop maturity of faith? Endure!
Need to see that teen-age son through the storms? Persevere!
Involved in some service or ministry that is stalled? Steady on!
Struggling to conquer a habit that cripples you? Don’t yield ground!
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 12:2-3, NLT)
When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall
When the choices are hard
When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources
When we’ve given our all
In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on