Never Give Up
Ever feel like giving up? Sometimes the events that tackle us on our sojourn through life can be overwhelming. When we’ve been pinned to the ground by our circumstances, we can focus on the dirt, or we can force our gaze upward and maintain our hope in the Lord.
No one had more reason to quit than the apostle Paul. In 11 Corinthians 11, verses 23-27, he lists the afflictions he encountered during his mission to preach the Gospel and oversee the Lord’s church.
He experienced prison, (verse 23); he was beaten five times, “forty stripes save one,” (verse 24). Three times he was beaten with rods. He was stoned once and left for dead (Acts 14:19); shipwrecked three times, and “a night and a day I have been in the deep" (verse 25).
“In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (verses 26,27).
In all this he never let any of these things stop him from his “care of all the churches” (verse 28).
On top of the persecutions and other perils he endured, he was also afflicted with an eye disease that the Lord refused to heal saying, “My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (11 Corinthians 12:9).
Instead of being discouraged that his healing was denied, Paul rejoiced because he was promised he would receive more of the Lord. –
“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, I am strong” (11 Corinthians 12:9,10).
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Through it all, the apostle Paul kept his focus on his Lord and refused to surrender in defeat to his circumstances.
When he was offered a choice to save his life, or continue his ministry in an area where he could face death, (Acts 21:10-14) he did not choose the easy route. Motivated by his calling and love for God, he marched onto Rome where he would be imprisoned and eventually executed by beheading.
He was faithful to the very end of his life leaving us with a shining example to follow.
Our lives here are like a marathon runner who strains to finish well. If we are enabled to reach just one soul for Jesus during our run, it’s worth it all.
And someday we will hear our Lord say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
Never give up.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
Copyright 2016 by H.D. Shively
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