Matthew 24:12-13 (NLT)
Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
My greatest fear is not what you might think if you know me. I am not afraid of cancer or any other kind of dreadful disease. Our son has had cancer five times and God has delivered him healing his body each and every time. So I know that my God, Lord and Savior is more powerful than any natural disease that could ever overtake my body or my child’s for that matter. So maybe you are wondering why I get a little worked up when it is time to do a PET scan or MRI to check his body for any evidence of disease. I really didn’t understand it myself until today. My greatest fear is that one day I will give up. This challenging battle has been long and hard fought. I am exhausted in my body and mind even though my soul prospers inside. The past few years have left me weary. I am ready for some much needed rest and restoration in our life. So the thought of standing a little longer is quite overwhelming, but the thought of giving up is absolutely terrifying. This faith that I have found completes me but I must constantly battle my flesh to maintain it. We are offered compromises and substitutions on a daily basis as the enemy tries to trick us into something less than God’s Very Best. Sin is indeed rampant even sneaking up in me. Love has grown cold, callous and unconcerned with the plight of people. But the Lord promises that the one who makes it without giving up to the end will be saved. I want that to be me. I need that to be our household. I must not give up.
I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Endurance is not about seeing how strong we are but how strong the Lord is. The Power of His Love is released in our life by faith. As we believe, we are shown time and time again the potential of God’s Love in our life. The greatest temptation in our life will be to settle for something less than God’s Very Best. Think about it. The Lord provides for those He loves so we will never go without. It is against His Will. We have the power inside of us to overcome the world because Jesus lives in our heart. God is always faithful. We are the ones who struggle with faith. To give up is to decide to accept something less, a substitution or compromise in our life. For example, our son has side effects from the many treatments that he has endured. My flesh calls me selfish to expect full restoration because God has done enough. The Spirit of the Lord tells me to keep holding on to His Promise that He will heal and fully restore our son body, mind and spirit. Now if it were me knowing all the ways that I have let God down, I would probably step down and quietly live in infirmity accepting the punishment that I surely must have earned. To do so would say that the Cross of Jesus and His Blood along with those stripes He took for me were not enough to save me, heal me and fully restore my life. But since it is our son, I have no choice to stand by faith, enduring the temptation to give up, because it is a different story when it comes to him. I cannot quit, give up or give in because it is my child. Hmm…I wonder if that’s how God thinks about me…
Luke 14:31-33 (NLT)
“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.”
In order to be a true disciple, I must give up everything I own especially my way of doing things. I must accept a Kingdom Lifestyle and Godly Mentality that faith is worth having so I will fight for it. This is tough when most of the time we are fighting ourselves to hang on. (Romans 7:21-25) The war for our soul is real. The enemy wants to take our faith and crush our hope. He is ruthless in his attack against our life. He is the head persecutor of the brethren and will not stop if he thinks you are weak and ready to give in. He fights hardest when you are closest to God’s Breakthrough because before it happens in the natural, it changes our heart and mind in the Spirit. This is when the flesh begins to lose. Before our situation or circumstance changes and we still choose to wait on the Lord putting our faith and trust in Him just because we believe that God can and will do all that He has promised in our life simply because we love and honor His Son. The king is responsible for the battle. We are simply called to fight the good fight to keep our faith.
I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
We take these scriptures all about love and apply them to our life ideally. When getting married, they are a reminder of what is expected by those who are committing to be partners for life. But I think that we sometimes forget our relationship with God is not one-sided and intimacy with His Son is required. Love is patient and kind. This is how Jesus loves us. It goes on to say that true love never gives up, never loses faith and is always hopeful enduring through every circumstance. Our love for Jesus should be lived this way. It becomes a whole lot easier to do when we decide that His Love is unconditional and enduring, too. The revelation of God’s Love for us changes everything. Literally, everything. Why did the Lord heal my son? Because He loves me. Now this does not explain why some people do not make it through treatment, or why bad things continue to happen to God’s People other than we are in this world and not of it – the world hates us because believers don’t belong here. But we still must endure because God’s Love lives in us. The greatest challenge in our circumstances is to never give up on love, faith and hope the three eternal qualities of life.
2 Timothy 2:9-10 (NLT)
And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
Just to give you a glimpse inside a very human and transparent heart today, our son will have scans of his entire body every three months for the next couple of years. It is a miracle that he is alive. We live on high alert with a high risk patient according to the medical field. Not many people live after five concurrent bouts of cancer and all the treatment that he has had. It is extremely difficult sometimes not to allow this life to take over. How so? We have had good scans and we have had horrible ones without warning. Most of our decisions for the past three years have had to consider our son’s condition. We can feel chained by our circumstances as he remains one of our highest priorities as we walk him through the restoration process. When I feel locked up by the constant cycle of his care, the situation our live has revolved around, it is a very human response to feel “chained” by our circumstances. Maybe you are caring for a loved one, or lost someone you loved. Perhaps you have lost your job and have no source of income currently. There are a number of circumstances that we encounter and must endure in life. BUT! “The Word of God cannot be chained.” It is alive and powerful like a two-edged sword making its way to the forefront of your life to change everything beginning with you! I love this verse. “For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.” (1 Peter 2:19) The Word of God makes us “conscious of His Will” so that we can patiently endure “unjust” treatment waiting for Him to make good on every detail (Romans 8:28) and perfect that which concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) His Word keeps us in the game when we really just want to throw in the towel. Read it. Speak it. Pray it over your life today. It will encourage your soul. Strengthen those weak knees. Raising those tired arms to know that He is working in us and fighting for us when we take a stand refusing to give up.
Galatians 6:8-9 (NLT)
Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Those who invest their whole life pursing the Kingdom of God have nothing to return to. The flesh wants satisfaction but is silenced when surrendered to the Spirit of the Living God. It is a daily sacrifice as we nail our whining, complaining and compromising spirit that seeks only comfort to the Cross to take up our cross and continue to pursue completion. I want all that God has promised my family. Those things that we have sown in tears that He promised would yield a harvest of righteousness. I know what we have been promised and will not give up until it comes. I will not be quiet even when locked in my own emotional bondage, the Word sets me free. There is a harvest of blessing for those who do not give up. I am not going to give up. I can make that choice by His Spirit. So can you…
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
People are watching today. Family, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers who know that you are a Christian. Some days I am really concerned with those watching, but on days like today when I am just trying to hang on and endure. There is only one thing that I have my eyes on…His Name is Jesus. He is the initiator of my faith and perfects as I endure. The farther I go and longer I hold on the more I realize that I am weak but He is strong. He is the One holding me together in this molding process. Joy is waiting for me. Peace is my prize. I will never give up. I can’t. I have come too far to turn back now. I have to see if my faith is genuine. I have to know that my hope is real. I want to live according to the Glorious Standard that Christ seeks to restore to our broken life. I do not want my love to grow cold for Jesus or anyone else. I do not want sin to be rampant in my life and so I will strive to do good. I want what the Lord has promised me and my greatest fear is settling for anything less.
James 1:12 (NLT)
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.