It was Winston Churchill who famously once said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”. I certainly feel like that sometimes. I’m sure you do too! And yet, the older I get the more I understand that God is more interested in my availability rather than my ability. Of course, there will always be moments when we feel like throwing in the towel. But again, Churchill famously reminds us “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
I always find the ‘break’ between Christmas and New Year an ideal opportunity to reflect, ensuring that I’m on the right track in all avenues of my life. I think about the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learnt – hopefully so as to ensure that they are not repeated (at least, not too soon!). It’s easy sometimes for us to have a wrong measure of what success looks like in our lives. I can more easily identify with Winston’s reflections on success when he said “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” The people who are really successful are the ones who persevere. They pick themselves up when they’ve fallen down. They keep on keeping on – whatever the challenge!
This theme of perseverance pervades the pages of our Bibles, reminding us that perseverance is an essential characteristic of those who are committed to following Jesus. The writer to Hebrews calls us to “…run with perseverance the race marked out for us” ( Hebrews 12:1).
Paul, who could easily have spent much time grieving his troubled past, declares “…one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
2014 will no doubt be a year full of highs and lows – just like 2013. There will be moments where we rejoice as we sense the power and closeness of God. There will no doubt also be moments where we might wonder whether God has left us – or even exists? My encouragement to you today is to ‘keep on, keeping on’. As Churchill said “Never give up”. You can’t have a victory without a battle. Let’s commit to keep persevering in life and faith – particularly in two areas…
Persevere in your commitment to grow as a follower of Jesus – loving God completely, loving others compassionately and loving yourself correctly.
Persevere in your commitment to bring people to Jesus. Don’t give up.
And as you persevere I pray that you will experience the joy of knowing the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.