"GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL" --MARK 16:15

When Challenges Come … Be Persistent

For some time now I have been reading Andy Andrews book, “The Seven Decisions” which has proven both challenging and helpful. The final chapter in the book talks about the Persistent Decision which states, “I will Persist without Exception.”

We each find ourselves facing the challenges and changes of life. As surely as these current scorching days of Summer will fade into the cooler days of Fall then Winter, so our personal and professional seasons constantly changing. Right now some of us are facing times of adversity in many areas of our lives. You’ve heard me remind you before that each of us are always in one of three places in all the areas of life:

Headed into a storm
In the middle of a storm
Coming out of a storm

Once you admit in which of these places you find yourself, you are more quickly able to make the choices necessary to persevere. Andy says in his book,

“In times of adversity, you don’t have a problem
to deal with; you have a choice to make.”

I have discovered, in my life the temptation is often to simply give in, give, up, or give out when facing times of challenge. But none of these are the best representation of what God teaches me through His word. The Apostle Paul was a man of significant influence and usefulness to the Kingdom of God but listen to his testimony of trials:

I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm Then, besides all this …When I was in Damascus, the governor kept guards at the city gates to catch me. I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.”
–2 Cor. 11: 23- 33

What did Paul do in and through all of these times? He kept his eyes on Jesus and operated from a position of faith rather than fear. It was become of this that his testimony came to a close with these words:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.”
–2 Timothy 4:7

One of the most important lessons that the bible teaches is that the only way to rise above the current circumstances is to make a decision to put on focus on Jesus rather than on the problem. The key to victory is an absolute decision to trust the Lord with everything in and of our lives.

Maybe today you are tempted to give in to something, give up on someone, or give out with some task. You can do that, but you will be disappointed. I challenge you today to operate from a position of faith that says, I will keep my eyes on the prize and give it my all, because of what God has done for me. Here is what I fully believe:

When we give in, it is because we are not grounded in truth.
When we give up, it is because we are not grateful for all that God has done.
When we give out, it is because we are not generous with all that God has given.

Being persistent means being consistent. Staying the course means being willing to acknowledge our faults, ask for forgiveness and moving in the right direction. Here is the acid test for being consistent and persistent in our speech. Always use the THINK test before you speak:

True
Helpful
Important
Necessary
Kind?

“Therefore, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
— 1 Cor. 10:31

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