This week I’m excited to share with you some of the wisdom and insights of ABM staff MarJean Peters. Read as she encourages all of us toward dependence on Christ, love and perseverance.
Persevere. That’s a tough one for me . I’m very goal focused with a strong sense of urgency. Sure, I get things done in good time, but the old nature turns virtues into weaknesses. However, I am learning the sweet secret of perseverance:
Love always perseveres (I Cor. 13:7) Not that I have already obtained all this, or already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Phl 3:12, NIV).
When my perseverance wilts like a thirsty flower on a hot day, a reality check on my love hose usually reveals a disconnect to the Divine Faucet. I cannot love or persevere without the power of Jesus flowing through me. High circumstantial temperatures and lack of divine water leave flowers…and courage wilted. They also create a fire hazard–the danger of living life in my own strength. If my heart does not remain connected to the Streams of Living Water moment by moment, one Day my self-efforts will go up in smoke.
If anyone builds on this foundation (Christ) using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work (I Cor. 3:11-14, NIV).
Eternal rewards come by relational dependence on Jesus and persevering in love by His strength. That gold, silver and costly stones. When we do our own thing in our own strength, we will gain only the ashes of wood, hay and straw. My own strength will fail. Rather than quietly, humbly waiting on God, I will become angry, anxious and controlling. The writer of Hebrews says, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sing that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Heb. 12:1-4, NIV).”
Living in a day of instant everything and fast internet, it’s hard to wait for anything. Yet author Miles Stanford writes in Green Letters that it takes six months to grow a squash and a hundred years to grow an oak. Go figure! Last night in my Celebrate Recovery group I said I was weary of the race chosen for me. As I awakened this morning, Jesus said to me, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Mt 11:28-29, NIV).
Oh may we come to Him. Learn from Him: gentleness toward others and humility of confession. May we focus on the power, love and presence of Jesus who strengthens us to persevere on the race marked out for us. The more we connect to Him, the more His love flows through us, and the more He motivates and strengthens us to persevere. Praise God!
-MarJean Peters, ABM Staff Missionary