bits from bob....
"Let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us...." (Heb. 12:1)
One of our elders stopped by the office yesterday. When I asked the customary, "How are you?" his reply was not customary. "I'm sore." Why? "You know, start the New Year by working out when you're not used to it."
It is relatively easy to get individuals excited about a task or challenge for a short time. Lots of individuals will begin the New Year aggressively seeking new goals or resolutions, only to drop by the wayside in a short time. It is not easy to stay with something for the long haul. Perhaps you are among those who have an old treadmill, exercise bike, or Bowflex in storage.
The call of Jesus is for the long haul. Christianity is a marathon, not a sprint. Jesus is calling workers for the eternal kingdom, and the work matches the kingdom. Following Jesus is life-changing, and the promise of a changed life causes many to follow quickly. Some of these later fall away when it becomes apparent that changing lives is not easy work. Others reject. Some of these later follow because the potential value is too great to ignore. Some always follow from afar. Some do everything possible to avoid coming face to face with Jesus. In every category, the question is perseverance.
Most of us, even those who continue to follow Jesus at some level, can point to areas of our life where we were formerly spiritually stronger than we are now. No better time than now exists for renewing that spiritual vigor and commitment. Christians who seriously follow Jesus in self-denial and daily service have far more impact in our community and world than any missionary or minister has in their "official duties." Following Jesus as Lord changes lives daily. Renewal is a constant need.
The basic problem we face in following Jesus is the question of surrender. We sing "I surrender all" but generally withhold some part of our lives. What will the New Year hold for you? for me? for this church? I do not know the answer to that question, but I do know who holds the New Year--if we will let him.
In this New Year, the spiritual journey can grower sweeter daily if we will learn the lessons of perseverance, renewal, and surrender.
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