Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Today’s Topic: One more thing
Today’s Text: 2 Peter 1:6 …and to perseverance…
Before we move on to the next Christ-like character trait that we are to be adding to our lives, let me say one more thing about perseverance. Regardless of your preference for sports teams, we all had the privilege on Sunday night to watch one of the greatest displays of perseverance ever by a professional football player. If we could apply the same intensity and drive to succeed for Christ as was displayed in the Superdome the church of Jesus Christ would be filling stadiums too.
He had a dream. He has a passion that is unmatched. He is filled with the joy that comes from doing what he loves to do. But on this night he would be beaten and beaten up. The opposition came after him. They were focused on eliminating him. They hit him high and low. He was battered. He was injured. But he kept getting up. He kept coming back for more because the game wasn’t over yet. If even one more play would bring about the fulfillment of his hope he would be there for that play. No matter how you rearrange the letters, there is no “quit” in “champion”.
God’s people are also called to be champions. We are equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit to be “more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37) No matter how you rearrange the letters, there is no “quit” in “Christian”.
It breaks my heart to see so many Christians give up and give in to the world at the slightest indication of resistance. It hurts even more when I see Christians simply drawn away by the appeal of the world. These are the people who take off the uniform of Christ before the game has even begun simply because they like the other team’s uniform better. They wake up on Monday morning and intentionally choose to wear the colors of the flesh rather than bear the cross of Christ. The cross comes out only when it’s convenient, but the flesh is there as a wardrobe staple. Simply the perception of persecution is enough to make them choose to bury their faith under a pile of pride known as personal protection. At least those who have started the week carrying the cross have entered the game and intend to play.
But even those who play aren’t playing with the determination to finish no matter what the opposition does. At various stages of the game, they succumb to the pain and sit on the sidelines, hoping someone else will keep going.
They quit because they don’t want to persevere under the pain of emotional persecution. They don’t want any more suffering at the hands of ungodly co-workers so they stop talking about Jesus, and eventually stop living like they love Him and live like they love the world more.
They quit because they’ve been hurt financially with the loss of promotions and/or the job itself because the boss was an agnostic and had ruled that their freedom of speech did not apply in the workplace.
They gave up because they were suddenly overwhelmed with a deep need for acceptance and approval by friends and family. They chose to ignore the truth that they are completely and unconditionally accepted and approved by their current Coach and that their current team has become their true and eternal family.
They sat down on the sidelines with their head in their hands and pitied the day they ever started this game because they didn’t think it would cost so much.
Meanwhile, out on the field, players are being bruised and battered because they’re wearing the wrong color uniform. Players are being helped to the sidelines by teammates because they can’t walk on their own. But when they get there, as they pass by the Coach on the way to the bench, they tell Him, “I’ll be ready to get back in the game in a moment.” The trainers, consisting of angels and teammates alike, gather around and minister to their injuries and wounds, and before long they have put their uniform back on, pulled up their socks, laced up their shoes, and are standing beside the Coach begging to return to action.
These are the players God wants on His team. These are the players who never quit. They may make mistakes, and some of them may cost them their dreams and even their life. But never will it be able to be said of them that they quit. These are the models of perseverance for us all. These are the kind of players referred to in Hebrews 11:32-39.
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith.
Will you be the model of spiritual perseverance like we saw on the football field? Are you going to be such a player for Jesus Christ?
Key Words for Search: Brett Favre