Life sure can throw us the proverbial curve ball. Death, divorce, and diversions to our life plans test our will to carry on in this great adventure. How do we continue in life when life itself is crashing down around us?
First understand that believing life is crashing down around you is based on your emotions and emotions can be a powerful motivator or a millstone. What do I do when Iâ€™m at the point of my witsâ€™ end and feel as though Iâ€™m stuck?
Most people turn to the Bible as a last resort and if thatâ€™s you then I am thankful you arrived to that last resort! Of course we should turn to the Bible first, but letâ€™s just pretend weâ€™re like everyone else and everything weâ€™ve tried on our own didnâ€™t work so weâ€™re finally turning to God for the answers.
There are so many examples in the Bible of people persevering but my favorite person, outside of Jesus, is the Apostle Paul. Paul experienced pain, prison, and punishment in ways that would have broken most humans. When writing to the Philippian Church about their generosity toward him (he was in a Roman prison at the time), he wrote:
â€œBut I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.â€ (Philippians 4:10-13)
Many a refrigerator is adorned with a magnet with Philippians 4:13 on it; it is many a personâ€™s life verse…it is my oldest daughterâ€™s. Many a Christian radio station recites it as â€œtodayâ€™s power verse.â€ But I purposefully but the three preceding verses with it because Paul is saying all that Iâ€™ve faced in life Iâ€™ve persevered because of the Lord Jesus Christ. So if this is your happy verse make sure youâ€™re ready for many an unhappy moment.
And please remember that Paul is writing this from a Roman prison; he was literally being guarded by a Roman soldier. So how is it that Paul could write such a powerful statement at the end of his life facing sure death by the hands of the Romans? You have to go back one chapter in his Philippian letter:
â€œBut what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.â€ (Philippians 3:7-14)
Paul persevered because he did not live in the past; he always pressed forward towards the goal to gain the prize and that prize was the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Too many of us think of life as a destination; we strive to arrive. Paul lived life as a journey. We talk of our Christian walk and Paul entered himself into the Christian race. And when Paul did come to the end of his life he did not look at life as having arrived but as having finished the race:
â€œFor I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.â€ (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Beloved, what mountain are you facing today? Is your world crashing down all around you? Do you not have the Christmas spirit because you might not have a Christmas this year? Look to Jesus not as the baby in the manger but as the Great Healer and Teacher whom once said:
â€œSo Jesus answered and said to them, â€˜Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, â€œBe removed and be cast into the sea,â€ it will be done.â€™â€ (Matthew 21:21)
A marathon runner never looks back to see how far he or she has run; the marathon runner presses towards the goal of the finish line to receive the crown of accomplishment.
Keep pressing towards the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Do you know Him as Lord and Savior?
If not, why not? Hmm?
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Copyright Â© 2010 David Jeffers