Thursday, June 2, 2011


No one likes to give up. In fact, we live in a culture that tells to you to "Never give up!" And perseverance is a wonderful and good trait to develop. When we commit to something, we need to work at it wholeheartedly. In John 17:4, Jesus prays, "I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do." And later on the cross, He cries out, "It is finished!" So obviously, Jesus had a task to accomplish on earth, and he didn't quit until it was finished.

But I don't believe society is telling you to persevere in God's work when they claim, "Never give up!" You see, most of the time, we are selfish in our own thinking. Often we will continue at something (or we may call it perseverance) simply because we don't want to be wrong or we don't want to appear weak. And that is where we fail.

I am been reading in Jeremiah recently, and Jeremiah was a prophet to God's people before they were exiled to Babylon. Before the major onslaught, Jeremiah approaches the king with this message from God: "Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who go out and surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life!"

God's plan was to exile the people to Babylon in punishment for their blatant sin and willful disregard for Him. So, God was essentially telling the people, "If you get on board with my plan, and go ahead to Babylon, you will live. But if you stubbornly refuse, then you will die." God didn't want the people to die. All they had to do was obediently follow God - and that meant to surrender. They had to give up their so-called "rights" and submit themselves first and foremost to God, and then to the king of Babylon.

Jesus even calls us to a life of surrender. In Matthew 10, he says, "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Obviously, Jesus isn't talking about physically dying, but rather letting your selfish will die, so that Christ can reign in and through you.

Everyday, we are faced with hundreds of decisions. Some of these choices are big, but most of them are small. It's easy to look to God for direction in the big decisions of life. We usually take lots of time to think, pray and seek counsel before we decide. However, it's the small choices in life that will truly define us. Do we take the time when interrupted to help a friend or play with our children? Or do we casually mention that we are too busy to help or we don't have the resources or whatever the excuse may be? Do we get angry and yell at the person who cut us off in traffic or do we pray for them and hope they don't get in an accident because they may be in a hurry to get to an important meeting?

Every day, God presents us with multiple chances to "give up our lives" so that He can work through us to produce an abundant life of ministry.

I hope you will join me this next week and watch for those small decisions where we can surrender to God and inch closer to the joy-filled experience of a Christ-centered life.

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