Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 3, 2012

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance." II Peter 1:5-6
During a Monday night football game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, one of the announcers observed that Walter Payton, the Bears’ running back, had accumulated over nine miles in career rushing yardage. The other announcer remarked, "Yeah, and that’s with somebody knocking him down every 4.6 yards!" Walter Payton, the most successful running back ever, knows that everyone --even the very best-- gets knocked down. The key to success is to get up and run again just as hard.
As an admirer of the late Walter Payton and an avid Bears fan I probably saw most of those yards he gained in his illustrious career. Just doing some rough math, if you figure that Walter gained over 14,000 yards at 4.6 yards per carry it means he  got tackled over 3,000 times. There were times that he got tackled for a loss behind the line of scrimmage. And each time he got up, ran back to the huddle and carried the ball just as hard the next time. Eventually, he would cross the goal line.
That is a good example of perseverence, a virtue recommended by Peter as a sign of spiritual maturity.
In the language of the New Testament the word used for perseverence is "hupomone" and it means "steadfast" or "endurance" and has the connotation of not just enduring but of turning a hurtful situation into helpful outcome.
Of course, the only way to turn pain into gain is through the power of God. But that power must be lived out by continuing to get back up each time you are knocked down and run just as hard as you did before.
Perseverence is the spiritual virtue of being determined to do the next right thing even when you don't feel like it. Perseverence is doing the next right thing even when you are being done wrong. Perseverence is doing the next right thing when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. Perseverence is doing the next right thing even when you know it will cause you more pain for doing it.
It was through perseverence that Jesus endured the cross. No one has ever illustrated the essence of "hupomone" by suffering an extremely painful and unjust death BUT through that very death He turned a very bad thing into the ultimate good thing. By enduring the agony of the cross allowed Him to experience the joy of the resurrection! THAT'S PERSEVERENCE!
Walter Payton became a Hall of Fame running back by persevering despite being knocked down thousands of times and getting back up each time to run again. He gained nine miles 4.6 yards at a time! THAT'S PERSEVERENCE!
Have you been knocked down? Are you hurting and wondering what to do?
Persevere! Get up in the power of God and do the next right thing!


October 2, 2012

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance" II Peter 1:5-6
Complete this phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make............."
That is the same big idea expressed in Peter's admonition to add "perseverence". The word used in the original language is "hupomone" and it means not only to endure but it has the idea of turning the pain into gain.
Here are some various Scriptures on this theme:

“But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” I Peter 2:20-21
"The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed  for his appearing." 2 Tim 4:6-8

"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:3-4
"Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21
Jesus modeled perseverence when He looked beyond  the terrible suffering of the cross and endured the shame because He knew it was the Father's will and He looked forward to the joy of pleasing God. He endured the momentary to gain the eternal.
Perseverence means that when you are suffering bad things, painful things, unfair and unjust things, you look for the next good thing to do to serve God. You obey and serve God just as you do in the happy times.
"Add to your faith PERSEVERENCE."
Is there some pain in your life?
Do you need some perseverence?
Will you ask God to help you look beyond the pain and turn it into a gain?