Updated: Mar 5, 2019
The path to victory is rarely a straight line and God designed it that way! We have to get this next truth etched in our soul or we'll bail out right before any goal is achieved–any victory is won. Ask God to tattoo this on the wall of your mind: Any REAL victory doesn't happen in spite of adversity...it happens BECAUSE of adversity! That mind-blowing reality must find a home in our heart. At the moment when all of hell (and half of the earth) is screaming "give up", perseverance is paramount!
Now, not every soul-jarring event or crazy season of life is from God's hand, but God wastes absolutely nothing. He's cooking up a custom recipe for your next victory. Your life is filled with personal failure, random miss steps, blindside betrayal and it's seasoned with unwanted/unwarranted heartache. But God still sees your quiet desire to go His way. God loves your broken but yet undivided heart. And then the craziest thing happens...at the moment when most people have said "to hell with it", you say, "all I have left is this little muscle of faith God, can you do something with it", and God miraculously moves that mountain that you're facing today! This isn't spiritual smoke and mirrors. You'll have a story of victory that builds strength for tomorrow and someone in this world is desperate to hear your story of perseverance.
Resistance is the only way to get physically buff and resistance is the only way to get spiritually buff. But there is one huge difference. Spiritual strength is never for show, it's for personal, subtle, daily victories that build on one another and encourages the soul of another until we find ourselves "mature and complete, lacking nothing". Maybe you're drained from the battle and calculating the cost of shame–"should I quit". It could be you already turned back, embraced defeat because the challenges were just too huge and too long. Here's the great news: God can give you a ride back to the front lines today. It's never too late to start over. You've never given up for too long. As you're moving out of the valley of death and through the kingdom of darkness, get a mental image of a train or large public wall and tag it with this God graffiti ..." you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." Listen, mountains make us strong, valleys keep us humble and pain deepens our need for God. Reject the voices that whisper an invitation to quit or compromise. And when the need for relief seems unbearable, stop/wait for a time at the streams of living water and renew your strength. Perseverance is possible and God can use that!
James 1, Luke 17, Gen. 50:20, Rom.5:1-5, John 7
Special Note: Karl is the lead pastor of 180 Chicago. Our worship celebration is held Sundays, 10 am, at Whitney Young on the near west side of Chicago. We invite you to join us and, as a guest, be sure to pick your copy of Karl's book, THRILL.