Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
Persevere… I thought I was one who persevered in trials, but I found out I was wrong. To persevere means to persist, to remain constant even in difficulty or discouragement. To meet head on. Some how, I have deceived myself into believing that giving up for the day and starting over tomorrow is persevering. You see, when things get too overwhelming, discouraging and tough, I “check out”… temporarily …that is my rationale.
What do I mean when I say “check out”? Basically, I’m taking the easy way out until I “feel” better. I go to something (other than God) to shut my brain and feelings off or numb myself. For me this can be food, a cocktail, crawling into my “hole” (which is on my couch watching TV AND playing spider solitaire simultaneously because one is not enough to do the trick). For others, it could be shopping, compulsive cleaning (wish I had a little of that in me), your children, a certain person, working more for success or money, nightlife, sex, etc. None of these are necessarily bad. The bible says, because we are free, that everything is permissible for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. (1 Cor 6:12 Amplified). I believe, what makes these “not beneficial” in that moment is our motives. What am I trying to get from “it”?
These are the moments when God is calling us to come to Him and allow Him to work. Check your motives before you “Check Out”. If you CHOOSE that “thing” over Him, it’s idolatry. According to James 1:12, If you CHOOSE Him, you will receive life, abundant life. Abundant life is so much more than just breathing; it is living life the way God intended.
In the past, I rationalized that his mercies are new every morning so I will just try again tomorrow. But this is twisting the Truth. That doesn’t require faith and complete dependence on Him. His mercies ARE new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), but that doesn’t give us an excuse to check out when our day is still ahead of us. My “game plan” has not been constant, persisting or facing head on. I can’t say I’m persevering which the bible calls us to do. When these tough times come is when persevering begins. If I just “call it a day” – I didn’t allow God to build character in me (Phil 1:6). The moments I want to “check out” are the moments that I need to be on my knees in prayer and STAY there until I have the strength to continue fighting. That is TRUE PERSEVERENCE.
Application: When discouragement comes or you’re having a bad day, do you “check out”? What are the things you go to that compete with God?
1) What do you think of the statement, “In that moment, if you CHOOSE that “thing” over Him, its idolatry”?
Exodus 20:4-5 You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.
One of the Ten Commandments. We normally think of statues when we think of idols, but it’s so much more than that. An idol is a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved or revered. Idolatry is giving blind or excessive devotion to something; the worship of a physical object as a god. (Definitions from a Google search). I see it as anything you look to, to fill your needs that only God was meant to fill. Check your motives before you check out. This is an area I really struggle in. Thank God for His continual grace and mercy. May He continue to mold me.
2) Do you look; I mean really look into verses and what God is trying to say to you through them? Or are you just trying to check one of your “to do’s” off your list? I’m trying a new thing – taking one verse for the day and truly studying it. Yes, I’ve never really done it. Wanted to, but didn’t really know how to. Therefore, I would just read the bible and try to understand the story or overall theme. I’ve been missing out. I chose a study method (basically been doing Priscilla Shirer’s 5P’s plan (http://www.leahadams.org/priscillas-5-ps-of-bible-study/) and have started on a new journey. My first day, I learned something. (Imagine that… stop, study and He will speak!).I encourage you to give it a try. It’s about quality not quantity. I’m a beginner to this type of bible study; so I would love to hear your ideas or methods.
1. Write the verse down
2. Look up 2 or 3 other versions (www.biblegateway.com makes it easy)
3. Read in its context (verses before and/or after that complete its point.)
4. Look up definitions of words (I use Google) in the verse
5. Paraphrase the verse in your own words.
6. Pull out the Spiritual principle. What is God teaching?
7. Form a question that is personalized to you. What is he trying to teach you?
8. Wait on Him and listen for what He is telling you.
Pertaining to this blog, I’ve listed verses on perseverance and idolatry. You can also pick a topic on something you struggle with and find verses. Please share what you learn.