Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Perseverance (week 4)
by Erik Momsen
HEARTLINES film - "The Good Fight" www.heartlines.org.za
There are many things in life that have to be endured. Many experiences are unpleasant and painful, but the way forward may only be by going through them. In the sporting word the adage is true, "No pain, no gain". There is a human tendency to avoid any unpleasant situations but this is not the way God and the universe work. Even in the simple hatching of an egg the little bird is seriously disadvantaged if it does not struggle by itself to be free from it's shell. There are also negative medical side effects for infants who have not gone through the struggle of natural child birth.
The Bible is full of accounts of men and woman who have struggled and endured great hardship but though the knowledge and help of the Lord have PERSEVERED and made a great impact on the world.
Joseph is a good example of a dream that turned sour at first. A teenager's dreams of making an impact on the world were met by scorn and even deadly violence by his elder brothers. Being a slave in Egypt was compounded by false accusations of rape from the master's wife. This landed him in prison for many years. Only after seventeen years of slavery and prison was he redeemed and brought forward to serve Pharaoh, Egypt and even his own people.
SEEING GOD IN THE STRUGGLE
Joseph was able to see God's hand in the difficult road he had to travel. Had he been bitter and unaware of God, he would not have been able to say the following to his brothers:
"And now you did not send me here, but God. And He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler over all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 45:7)
- God was in control and Joseph set his mind on this.
- God's hand had raised Joseph above the trials.
Paul would have said to Joseph;
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
God is in the business of "making all things new" (Revelation 21:5). Of taking the darkest situation and bringing the light. God turned the slavery of Israel in Egypt into a deliverance still retold three thousand years later.
God's classic work is seen in Him dealing with us while we are still lost and confused. He always provides a way.
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:13-15)
Christ has conquered death, sin and failure. There can therefore be nothing that He cannot overcome. We however set our eyes on the trouble and not the Lord who walked on the storm. We must set our eyes on the HOPE that all things are possible for God and walk in this fact.
HOW TO PERSEVERE
"Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us , and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your minds." (Hebrews 12:1-3)
- Know that we are being watched from above ...
- Be aware of things that trip you up ... sins, faithlessness, worry, poor vision, prayerlessness .
- Just keep going ...
- Keep your eyes on Jesus not the problem.
- Remember what He endured to win the race.
- Remember the reward that He received.
PERSEVERANCE IS THE CHARACTER BUILDER
"Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering works perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4)
It is only after we have been tested that we know we are able. There is nothing like suffering to test physical, mental and spiritual strength. Once what we have, has been tested we know we can go just a little further (perseverance). Once our character has been tested we find the truth about ourselves and we see how God is faithful in our trials. Our hope is in Him and in His faithfulness.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (perseverance) But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)
Many trials we face may be God at work. Some may also be our foolishness and sin. The trials of God are part of His purifying and perfecting work in us. If we constantly regard trials only as negatives we will not learn the lessons God has for us.
God is calling us to regard trials with JOY. What a turn about in thinking! When we stop running away from trials and embrace them we employ faith and hope and the power of God is revealed in the situation.
Imagine facing challenges with hope and God's help, coming out the other side and knowing that you did not shrivel in the face of trouble. These kinds of victories build faith and maturity and in the end the Kingdom.
Date Added: 2006-08-08
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