Love Motivates Perseverance
Monday, March 9, 2015
2 Thessalonians 3:3 – 5 (NIV) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Time magazine, the satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter’s magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target.
But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter’s immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun. And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. Perhaps most remarkable is that those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light. The signals take more than nine hours to reach Earth. The final, very weak signal from Pioneer 10 was received on January 23, 2003 when it was 12 billion kilometers from Earth.
The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. (How many of you just saw a bunny with a drum?) Pioneer 10 has accomplished more than anyone thought possible. It just keeps doing what it was designed to do.
When we consider the reasons we tend to give up and quit in various areas of our lives, we must dig deep enough to reach the primary cause. When we do we will discover that there is one thing lacking that has caused us to not persevere, and that thing is love. Follow along closely here. We have been designed by God to love. But let’s make sure we are defining love correctly. Love, according to the Designer, is a choice to sacrifice one’s own well-being, preferences, and pleasure for the sake of what’s best for another. God demonstrated that kind of love to all of us when He sent Jesus to die for us while we were still in our sin (Romans 5:8). Since we have been created in the image of God, and God is love, then the compelling force behind everything we accomplish is to be love. If we quit before we reach the conclusion, then we really didn’t love what we were doing. We don’t quit on what we really love.
This may sound like an oversimplification to some of you, but in reality it is as deep and complex as it needs to be. We have not persevered because we have not truly loved. We have given up on marriages, friendships, careers, and goals because we chose to pursue our own well-being, preferences, and pleasure rather than those of the person or plan we claimed to have loved. When times got tough we chose to move into self-protection mode. In other words, we chose to love self more than anything.
If Pioneer 10 had been given the right to choose, it would have had limitless options when it was launched. “Space – the final frontier.” But the designer programmed in only one course. Our Designer has programmed in one true course for us as well. When the choice was made to follow Jesus, the Designers course was to become our only course. But we have wrongly reserved the right to continue to choose between God’s course and all the optional courses offered by the world. That’s why we can’t persevere. That’s why Jesus warned us that we are not worthy to be His disciples if we put our hands to the plow and then look back at other options. We have chosen self-love as the best course for life, and we change our course as often as we change our minds. “Keep your options open” has become the buzzword of Satan that grabs our attention. The bottom line is that we are in love with us, and not truly living in the love of God.
But God has designed us for something much greater, and He has given us an earthly example to follow. Jesus Christ, because of His sincere and undying love for the Father, persevered to the point of shedding His blood to accomplish God’s purpose. In today’s Scripture passage Paul says, May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. It is love for God, and the complete trust in God’s love for us that compels us to persevere as Christ did. So the next time you’re considering giving up and quitting on a person, a goal, or on God, check your heart. You’ll probably find that you have lost your first love, and your love for self has become the compelling force that drives your decisions. Fall to your knees and repent, and come back to the Designer’s love. He knows how far you will be able to go.