Press Forward With Determination
Day after day, you fight the same battles, you struggle against the same obstacles; it wears you down. For some, you feel like you're at war, for others, there are just constant skirmishes, with no rest. The exhortation in Hebrews 12:1 to never give up, to press forward with determination, seems like an impossible task. How can you find that reserve of strength needed to keep going day after day?
Every Believer Should Be the Model of Endurance
Through the Bible, you read of people who endured life's greatest challenges. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, and thrown into prison. Job lost everything: possessions, family, and health. Christ endured the most, as he took on the weight of the world's sins, and suffered unbearable physical pain. Praise the Lord, most of us won't find ourselves dealing with great tribulations, but instead, our struggle is with the constant, eroding discouragements we face every day.
Fatigue, lack of money, inconsiderate people, poor health, feelings of worthlessness, can distract and hold back the Christian. We would like to press forward, but we just can't drum up the energy. Don't worry, the Bible exhorts and instructs us on how to endure the struggles of our daily lives.
Press Forward With Determination Like the Apostle Paul
Let's consider Paul's ministry. After his conversion, Paul could have wallowed in guilt over his past actions. If there ever was a man who should have suffered feelings of inadequacy, it was Paul. Not only did he know what horrible crimes he had committed, so did everyone else. Paul suffered from poor health. His eyesight was weak, and he had some unknown infirmity which he called his "thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor 12:7). He never had extra money; always depending on the generosity of the poor to whom he ministered. Paul even endured personality conflicts with his fellow laborer, John Mark.
If anyone has ever understood the daily struggle we face, trying to live our lives and minister to others, it was Paul. Yet, we need to consider what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." 1 Corinthian 2:1-5
The world sees our struggles, notes our infirmities, and recognizes that any power we have, is not through our own efforts, but from God. Just as we see God's great works through Paul, so must the world see Christ working through us, not us working in our own strength.
Every Believer Must be a Personal Witness for Jesus
If a Christian's life was easy, and you were blessed with abundant riches, good health, model children, a strong marriage, and lots of friends, it wouldn't be hard to convince others to become Christians. The problem is that they would be doing it for the wrong reasons. To illustrate this point, let's look at marriage.
Most marriages are made between two people who fall in love. You choose someone to be your spouse, based on an intense desire to be close to him, not because he comes with a fat bank account, a nice car, good teeth, and a promise of intelligent children.
All right, I will concede that some women marry for those reasons, but most of us are content to live in tiny starter homes, with second-hand furniture, and an old car, because we are "in love".
Jesus doesn't want us to seek him out for the money, fame, and prestige of being a Christian, He wants us to be "in love" with Him. Therefore, Christians, must endure the trials of this life, just as newlyweds go through an "establishment" period. Later, in Heaven, we will enjoy the comfort and ease, we would love to experience here on earth.
We must let the world know that we WANT to be Christians. We WANT Jesus, despite everything we might have to endure in life. This is our personal witness. The unsaved person, will recognize the difference in the Christian, not through material blessings, but in the power and peace that comes from within.
Every Believer Should Be a Walking Example of God's Power
At this point, you may think that we've gotten a little off track. The whole point of this article was to help with the discouragement we face daily, as life beats us down. You may think it's never going to end and all you have to look forward to is an endless path of trials and obstacles.
A runner training for a marathon, does not wake up one morning, after ten years of sitting around, and decide to go out and run 26 miles. No! Each day, they run longer and longer distances, adding hills, and increasing their speed. Never, does the training get any easier, but the endurance increases. Where once, a mile was considered a difficult run, now ten miles becomes the challenge.
Look back at your early years. The struggles faced as a high school student are nothing compared to the struggles faced as an adult, yet at the time, they were very real. God gives you the power you need to keep going. Let the unsaved see that He can get you through one struggle after another. Each day, you will continue to suffer obstacles, but as you press forward, your ability to handle more and more difficult situations develops and the world looks on as you witness to them through your everyday life.
Build Your Endurance as A Christian
Press forward with determination. Do not give up. Focus on one day at a time. Whatever the struggle is today, give it over to God. Big or small, He has the power to help you through it. Know that today's hurdles are preparing you for future obstacles. Be careful, not to add burdens, when they are not yours to bear.
If you feel that you are not accomplishing anything for Christ, remember that your job is to lift Him up, and His job is to draw the people to Him. Witnessing is not a sales pitch.
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:” 1 Cor 2:4
The only job you have been tasked with is to tell others of Christ love and forgiveness,. So, live your life in such a way, that God's power is evident.
How to Press Forward Each Day With a Determined Spirit
The only way to move through each day with a happy spirit is to remind yourself of this passage of Scripture:
"But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phillipians 4:10-13
Pray for each day's struggles, that God will give you the power you need to overcome any obstacles. Ask for help in building the endurance needed for ministry. Thank Him for any and all blessings you receive each day. Pray that He will give you opportunities to lift Him up before others, so that He can draw them close.
Press forward with determination and look towards the eternal prize.
About the Author
Kim and her husband, Craig, live in Overland Park KS where she successfully manages a marketing company and homeschools her two children still at home. Twenty-two years of juggling business and homeschooling has taught her a thing or two about time management. In addition to work and family, Kim helps her husband with the College and Career class at the church and also directs the Children's Music Ministry and drama team. The Submissive Spirit was born from her desire to reach out to other Christian women across the globe and share encouragement and the love of Christ.