The world never stands still, does it? How do you deal with the unceasing demands of living? The homes we live in must be maintained: a screw tightened, a leak repaired, a roof replaced … Our relationships require tending, too. If we stop paying attention to others, we will drift apart. I have talked with people who admit that they have not spoken to their sibling for 25 years. Why? They shrug – “We just grew apart.” Life keeps rolling. One day’s problems solved only to find new ones today.
Who has not convinced himself that life will certainly be less complicated when … we find a new job, move to a new town, retire. But, each change, each new season brings some new demand for growth. If we are completely honest, I think most of us would admit that there are days when keeping up with it all is just exhausting. And there are people who choose to drop out, hide out, or wipe out! Some just lay down and go with the current, swept away to irrelevance. Others bury themselves in meaningless diversions from real life. Still others make terribly self-destructive choices.
One of those parts of life where there is a constant demand for growth is our walk with God, our life in the Spirit. Yesterday’s victories are celebrated. Its failures are forgiven. Now we must lean into this day, making the most of the opportunities that are ours in this moment.
Christian, God invites us to persevere. It’s a word rich in meaning in the Bible, coming from a NT Greek word that literally means ‘to stand up under the weight.’
Listen to God’s encouragement for the ongoing demands of life. “Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.” (Hebrews 10:35-39, NLT)
How do keep on meeting the challenges?
First, we choose faith, our hope set fully on Christ’s life in us!
Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we meet with disappointment. In Ecclesiastes we are told that “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor satisfaction to the wise, nor riches to the smart, nor grace to the learned.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, The Message) Christians need the long view that takes in Eternity. Without it, we risk becoming disillusioned, perhaps bitter, and may become a casualty of the battles of life.
Second, we do God’s will, not ours!
James teaches us about the importance of taking the Way of the Spirit. “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15, NIV) Paul urges us to ‘keep step with the Spirit!’ (Gal. 5) When we are in tune with His will today we can be confident to walk into tomorrow.
Third, by faith we hold onto the Hope of all things set right, when the King returns!
Peter answered Jesus’ invitation to discipleship with an objection, at first. “We have left everything to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:28-30, NIV) God never forgets what is done in His Name. On this side of Heaven we may not see our efforts rewarded, but in His Eternity, there is a sure reward. He will set things right, bring justice (both a comforting and fearful thought), and give us a home where time does not exist, where we will live in perfection!
Meditate on this word from the Word today. Unpack God’s truth for encouragement that will keep you fully alive in the Spirit, meeting the challenges of the day.
“Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:19-25, NIV)
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” -Vince Lombardi
(A Scots hymn)
True-hearted whole-hearted faithful and loyal
King of our lives by Your grace we’ll stay true
Under Your standard exalted and royal
Strong in Your strength we will battle for You
Peal out the watchword and silence it never
Song of our spirits rejoicing and free
True-hearted whole-hearted now and for ever
King of our lives by Your grace we will be
True-hearted whole-hearted fullest allegiance
Yielding each day to our glorious King
Valiant endeavor and loving obedience
Freely and joyously now would we bring
True-hearted Savior You know all our story
Weak are the hearts that we lay at Your feet
Sinful and treacherous yet for Your glory
Heal them and cleanse them from sin and deceit
True-hearted whole-hearted Savior all glorious
Take Your great power and You reign alone
Over our wills and affections victorious
Freely surrendered and wholly Your own
Frances Ridley Havergal – Public Domain