Stand up! Steady on!

Are you weary?  Yesterday I watched “Doc” Rivers, coach of the LA Clippers explain why the NBA would not play. A 58 year old black American, Rivers’ emotions took hold of him as he tried to explain how the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha made him feel.  I saw a man who was weary of racial conflict, who was worn down. In that moment, I chose not to react or even to analyze. My desire was to understand, to encourage, to be steady.  If I had the opportunity to talk with the police of Kenosha who are trying to cope with protest and violent reaction, I would do much the same… understand, encourage, be steady.  

America needs men and women who post less, stand steady more, who refuse kneejerk reactions, who are thoughtful, who know that a crisis today does not mean the end of the world tomorrow!

One of the evidences of the Spirit’s life in us is ‘patience.’   God does a work in us that helps us do much more than not lose our temper in heavy traffic or yell at our rowdy kids. The patience that reveals God’s life at work in us is the ability to remain steady in the storm, to overcome and press on.

Paul was inspired to teach us that “the fruit (the visible evidence) of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)  In the first language of the Bible, the word is makrothumia – meaning ‘to suffer long.’  

Jesus used the metaphor of plowing a field to teach the point. Plowing was a hard thing in His time. The ground had to be broken up to prepare it to receive seed. After hours in the sun, pushing that plow, pulled by an ox, a person would be exhausted but they had to finish. No plowing, no harvest.  He tells us “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, NLT)  “Go steady on,” He says, “endure the grind by remembering the harvest.”

Where have you been tempted to walk away from the plow, to end the patient preparation for a harvest as yet unseen?

Are you thinking that your marriage is over?
Some marriages break down under the weight of terrible abuse or infidelity. Many more die because two people once in love forget to do the hard work of understanding, because people give up in an extended time of crisis and walk away.

Does it seem that you need a new boss or a new place of employment because you’re just fatigued or perhaps bored with the routine?
Quitting too soon can bring financial hardship. A failure of ‘long-suffering’ can lead to a life lived far below the person’s potential.

Joe and Sally Christian may tempted to walk away from service, to leave the church, when they have a disagreement with a leader or find the Pastor’s sermons dry or uninteresting.  A better choice is one involving ‘makrothumia,’ maturely walking it out, working to make things better, rather than abandoning relationships and/or calling.

Another word for the fruit of ‘patience’ is perseverance. The NT word is ‘hupomone’  meaning to stand up under the weight.  Both ideas are part of faithfulness. Pastor James of First Church in Jerusalem reminds us “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:10-11, NKJV)

Will you cultivate the fruit of ‘patience?’  
Will you choose to be that person who shows up to serve on the bad days as well as the good ones?  

Let’s decide, God helping us, to be those who who know His call and follow His lead, people whose faith is evident not just in high moments of worship, but in the grind of life.  Our world needs steady men and women, full of God’s Spirit, who are willing to say:  “My feelings are secondary to my commitment.  I’ll serve, I’ll stay, I’ll love – so help me God!”  Yes, I know that sounds like heresy to the average ‘happy hungry’ American who can’t imagine doing anything hard for any length of time.

In 2020, this country needs Christians who refuse to walk away, who won’t escape into the vapid environment of conspiracy nonsense, who have the discernment to see through sensational theories about the pending end of the world. Instead, focused on the eternal harvest of righteousness they choose to be steady, faithful, and encouraging. This word calls us to an important choice – “Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 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.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT)

Here is a word from the Word. Note the word “pillar!” God needs people who draw on the Spirit’s life and power who are pillars of faith in a world of chaos. “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. Look, I am coming quickly. 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 my God’s name on them, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And they will have my new name inscribed upon them.” (Revelation 3:10-12, NLT)


(An older song by Mandisa. Go ahead, get up and dance!)

Staring at the stop sign
Watching people drive by
T-Mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You

That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom hit the ground
Oh you’re not alone
Just take a breath don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

The same Man the Great I Am
The One who overcame death
He’s living inside of You
So just hold tight fix your eyes
On the One who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling you

So don’t quit don’t give in you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit don’t give in you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit don’t give in you’re an overcomer

You’re an overcomer

Ben Glover | Chris Stevens | David Garcia

© Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) 9t One Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Ariose Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Meaux Mercy (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Moody Producer Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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