I rec’d this from a brother in New Zealand. I believe this encouragement is very timely for all of us:
When we look more closely at where many Christians are at in their lives, and what they are (or are not) accomplishing, we realize that we do have to keep encouraging one another to enable us to fulfill the calling and purpose of God for our lives. He has not called us to walk and live in defeat; to be discouraged; to give-up and become negative and defeated about life generally. Jesus came to give us much more than that! He came to give us “Life, and life more abundantly (“super-abundant, excessive, above the ordinary measure”)” (John 10:10). Know that the life Jesus gives us is so totally different ~ and far better ~ than any other kind of life that can be found this side of eternity. Do not forget that.
Far too often we give in too quickly. If it does not work out exactly right the first time, we often do not try again, thinking that it is not God’s will for us, or that the devil is trying to deceive us, etc. Faith is something that causes us to press onwards, upwards and out- wards ~ to persevere and to press through until we see the required result. I am reminded of what Elijah said to his servant in 1 Kings 18:43-46. Elijah had declared that “there is a sound of abundance of rain” ~ but there was no evidence at all of any clouds or signs of rain (after three-and-a-half years of no rain – James 5:17-18). He sent his servant up a hill to look for the clouds. He returned with a negative word ~ there was nothing to be seen. Elijah was not to be put-off by that report and sent him again, even seven times! Six times there was nothing to be seen. Maybe Elijah had got it wrong? But no! On the seventh time the servant came back with a report of a little cloud in the sky the size of a man’s hand. That was all Elijah needed. He jumped into action and it was not long before the sky was black with rain clouds and heavy rain began to pour down. He prevailed!
We, too, need to have the word of the Lord in our hearts in such a way that we know it is God. Often, when He speaks to us, there is no physical or outward evidence that it is so. But faith comes with the voice of the Lord, and when we choose to press on through regardless of what our mind tells us, other people tell us, circum- stances tell us, etc., we will find that we inherit the promises. They will come to pass! Know also that God uses these “delays” to work something precious into our spirits, so that we are prepared and equipped for even greater things ahead. We have to be refined for His purposes. It is easy to give up, but giving up does not accomplish anything in God.
Naaman the Syrian was told by Elisha to go and wash seven times in the Jordan River. It offended him and touched his pride, causing him to “storm off” in indignation. But when he humbled himself and did as the prophet declared, he was healed of his leprosy. I am simple enough to believe that if he only dipped five or six times, he would not have been healed (see 2 Kings 5:1-14). He had to persevere in spite of his pride and arrogance. God used it to humble the man and cause him to acknowledge that there is no god like Elisha’s God.
We are exhorted to be like Jesus and to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him Who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Christianity is a marathon race, not a sprint. It calls for endurance (“to stay, stand fast, continue, abide; to remain behind after others have gone; to keep one’s ground, hold out; a brave bearing up against sufferings” – Bullinger’s); it is keeping focussed and keeping going in that which God has called us to. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9-10). If Jesus Himself needed to endure, then so do we. Have we got our eyes focussed on what is ahead, or are we allowing present, natural, negative circumstances to discourage us and make us give up?
WHAT has GOD PROMISED YOU?
What has God promised you that is yet unfulfilled in your life? Have you given-up on it, thought it was too difficult, caused too much criticism and opposition against you, etc.? What God promises He desires to deliver on. He wants to fulfill His sure promises in your life. Be encouraged to pick up those promises again and to press on until you see the victory. Know that He does not change His mind about you. Do not allow negative thoughts, things, people, circumstances, criticisms, opposition, persecutions, etc., rob you of the blessings of a Super-Abundant God Who wants only the very best for you. Press in and press through until the victory is yours! It is so worth it and you will accomplish so much more as you keep pressing through, enduring and not giving up on that which God has promised YOU!