Tuesday, January 9, 2018

PERSEVERANCE (when you feel like giving up)

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

                I have been sick for over two weeks. It began with a nasty case of the stomach flu. Then it transitioned into a deep chest cold; complete with a runny nose and a hacking cough that keeps me up at night. To be honest, I feel drained. I would prefer to just curl up in bed for a week and shut out the world, but life doesn’t stop because of a chest cold. So I persevere as best as I can.

                Sometimes I feel this way about my spiritual journey. There are times when I feel drained and would prefer to withdraw from the battle. At those times, I would like to close out the world and hide until Jesus comes. But, I know that life does not work that way. I have been called to be an active participant in what God is doing in the world, so I persevere as best as I can.

                When we feel drained and weary, we lose our perspective. The focus quickly shifts to us and away from Christ and His mission. We start to feel sorry for ourselves and wonder if it is really all worth it. The Psalmist Asaph struggled with these feelings. He wrote about it in Psalm 73.

Psalm 73:1-3
A psalm of Asaph.
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

                Can you identify with what Asaph wrote? He goes on to talk about all of the ways it looked like the wicked were winning at life. From a human perspective, it was very discouraging. But it was not the end of the story. Asaph went to the Temple and gained new perspective on things.

Psalm 73:16-26
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

                The antidote for our soul sickness is to gain a better perspective on life. The more fully we grasp the big picture, the more empowered we will be to persevere.

Hebrews 12:2-3
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


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