When do you give up?
It depends on what you're giving up on, right? Sometimes.
But what if you are giving up on eternity? An eternity spent with Jesus. That might make a difference in your answer. Of course most of us would say, "Never!" But do our attitudes and actions always match our thoughts?
"For the past twenty-three years - from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now - the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them onto you, but you have not listened." -Jeremiah 25:3
Oh to have a heart like Jeremiah. Twenty three years. Twenty....three. As our pastor shared that verse, that example, this past Sunday, I thought...wow. I don't know if I could do something for twenty-three years with no results and continue every day. Without ceasing. It would have to be a whole lot about God. And a whole lot not about me.
So here is the matter at hand. Are you confident you will spend an eternity one day with Jesus? Have you given him your heart? Really given it to him, trusting Him to lead your life, thanking Him for the sacrifice He made on the cross so that WE could live lives free of sin? If you have, praise the Lord! You are my brother or sister in Christ, and I will one day see and know you on the other side of this life on Earth. If you are not, please let me share with you how you can find that confidence! Oh how God longs to share that gift with you.
And if you are a Christian, how then, do we live a life in which we refuse to give up on others we know who will not spend an eternity with Christ? Our pastor shared these thoughts and suggestions-
*Spend time dwelling on the true condition of people. Really dwelling...praying...about the fact that those who don't know Christ are missing out on the greatest gift they could ever receive. 6 of 10 people do not have a personal relationship with Christ. That's a lot. That's almost the whole line at a grocery store. That could be ALL the people in the booth next to you at the restaurant. That could be....well, its' just a lot.
*Pray. Pray DAILY. And pray diligently. Ask for courage, intentionality, perseverance. Pray through your anger, loneliness, joy, and praises. Be honest with God. Jeremiah gained courage and strength by building such a relationship with God. He was honest, and his heart was longing for God to use Him each day. We may not know who or what God has in store, or how He is using us at the time, but HE does. And that is the most important thing. If you are even just a link in the chain, hang in there.
*Trust God to use your efforts. This is a big one for me. I want to be in control. I want to see results. If I can't do something the "right" or most perfect way...I want to give up. But like I said earlier, this need is too important for ME to get in the way. I can't save souls. God can. He can use me in the process.
A man once wrote a book. When asked how he wrote the book, he said he had no idea what it would become when he started. He simply wrote what he could every day for a whole year, and by the end of the year he had a wonderful 365 page book. What can you do today? What can I do to make a difference in the life of someone else? How can I reflect Christ and outwardly share about His love and truth?
I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm ready to dig deeper now. I long to have the heart that Jeremiah had - one that wakes up living and breathing God and as a result, longing to speak of His truth every day, even if no one listens.
Perseverance. I will not give up. People need the Lord...and it's time for me not to just say it and sing it, but to act on it. I'm praying God will give me all I need to be the witness He has called me to be.