PERSEVERANCE

 

Our creator is omnipotent, great and powerful beyond our understanding. He created us for a purpose, namely to reflect His glory. The earth shall be full of His glory as the waters cover the sea and we are privileged to be called out ones. Yet because of sin, we are frail and mortal, our thoughts are not pure. James speaks of the tongue being a world of evil and he comments: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26)

If we are honest in self-examination we must agree with how true this statement is! It is true to say that what we speak and of course write, is an expression of the inner person. The way we behave is born out of what we think, feel and value. What we are is determined by what we associate ourselves with and fill our minds with. What we associate with is determined by what is important to us.

It would follow then that if we value the Truth, if we honestly desire to please our Creator, if we love God and His ways, if we love the Lord Jesus and appreciate all that he has done for us, then our minds and actions will be always in accord with these things. We will fill our minds daily with the Word, we will strive to put that Word into practice in our lives and our sole focus will be upon the coming Kingdom.

Well this is the ideal, but sadly, though we desire it to be so, not the reality. How many times even in the week between the memorial meetings, do we forget? How many times does that ill thought and unkind word spring from our lips? How many times have we felt it hard to follow the way set before us? How hard have we found it to change our characteristics? How many times and for how long have we felt the fear of not being ‘good enough’?

If you are like me then I guess the answer to all those questions is ‘yes I have frequently’!If we ask, ‘am I good enough’? The honest answer before God has to be NO!

That being the case we have three choices:

  1. We can give up, stop going to meetings, shun the company of brethren and sisters and think that we have been so bad that it is no good continuing.
  2. We can conclude that we are unable to change; human nature will always tend towards evil and change is impossible. Thus life must continue as it is and we will hope that Jesus will understand at the judgement seat.
  3. We can make the decision that the situation described is indeed true, accept our failings BUT openly, honestly admit those failings before our Creator and then trust in His mercy and then strive to make changes despite the setbacks.

We each must decide which the scriptural and better way is.

Maybe there are times when we fear not being ‘good enough’ but the way is opened through Jesus Christ our Lord. [John 14:1-4].  Jesus is a merciful High Priest, he knows our weaknesses and failings. Jesus was tempted in all the points that we are – yet without sin. If we honestly strive to follow his example, we shall ultimately become Christ like. It is in that honest realisation and acceptance that we are not ‘good enough’, that we find the path to life. Humble confession of our sin and our need in prayer is acceptable to God.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and only through him can we find salvation. We have a High Priest of the order of Melchizedek, a High Priest by virtue of indestructible life, one fully able and willing to intercede on our behalf. One who has shown his love for us in that he laid down his life, greater love has no man than this. Shall we reject his sacrifice and love by giving up!

Jesus is the way and has shown the way. The way is not easy; it was never promised that it would be. The way takes effort, it takes self-sacrifice and it takes perseverance. Now God saw that we had the potential for this when He called us. God did not call us to fail. Nay, He has provided all that is needed; the only source of failure then is ourselves.

Soon we must stand before the judgement seat of Christ, what will he think of our words and deeds? We shall bend the knee before him, we shall confess our life, we shall all need his mercy. There will be no room for any pride, only thankfulness for some humble abiding place. But then what cause for great joy. The past will appear but a passing dream compared to the realities of the Kingdom before us. Surely, with David we say “a day in your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

Now God has said “This is the one that I esteem: He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word”. Isaiah 66:2

Thus the wheel as it were has come full circle.The way we behave is born out of what we think, feel and value. What we are is determined by what we associate ourselves with and what we fill our minds with. What we associate with is determined by what is important to us.

Humility, contriteness of heart and trembling at God’s word is what will fill our minds and influence our behaviour, if that is what we really value.Maybe it would help to consider that it is not all about personally ‘getting it right’ all the time and as it were ‘beating ourselves up’ over personal failure. It is more about an attitude of mind, a determination to strive to be Christ like despite our failures, a determination to obey the commandments of Christ despite our weaknesses. If that is what we value, over time, according to the mercy of God that is what we will be like.

So we say, “Yes Lord walking in the way of your laws we wait for you. Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night, in the morning my spirit longs for you” (Isaiah 26:8).

Andy Peel