Never Give Up!
“Let us run with perseverance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Heb. 12:1-2)
I’m always amazed by the pioneers that traversed our country in the 19th century in search of a better life. Some of them were my ancestors who finally settled in Oregon. They faced hardships, hunger, danger, disease, and death of loved ones on the Oregon Trail. But they never gave up! Some, I’m sure, returned when the going got too tough, but for most, once they got so far into “no man’s land,” they had no choice but to keep going!
We all face hardships, though I’m sure none of us would dare say our trials are insurmountable. Yet we are tempted almost every day to give up…..even if that “giving up” is just a seed thought.
What’s your “giving up” issue? Maybe it’s giving up on an answer to prayer; perhaps it’s giving up on someone who has disappointed you. Or it might be that you’ve given up believing some aspect of your faith. Maybe we’ve given up on the church, a leader, or justice that seems elusive. Perhaps we’ve given up on ourselves, and our hope for greater growth, freedom, and transformation.
Whatever it is, the admonition from Hebrews 12:2 to “run with perseverance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus” is so, so important! Like the distance runner Paul is referring to, we must keep putting one foot in front of the other, and draw our strength, hope, and power from Jesus. He is NOT DISTANT from our “giving up” situation! He is in our “giving up” situation more than we realize. We need to visualize Him running beside us, encouraging, speaking, and giving us what we need for our race!
What could it mean to never give up? I think it’s an important question to think through. Proverbs 13:12 says: “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” What is it that is deferring our hope, and how can we keep running for fulfillment?
— Keep praying. Keep hoping. Keep believing. Keep persevering in spiritual exercises that have always been important to you.
— Give thanks and praise. Let’s always be grateful to God for everything we have. Sometimes “giving up” is an indication that we are coveting something or feel entitled to something. Gratitude will replace the feeling of entitlement. Gratitude is fuel for the race; entitlement drains the tank.
— Celebrate progress, not perfection. When we can focus on just one step of progress, it helps. The phrase ‘you can’t paint a church building in one day’ comes to mind!
— Focus on WHO you’re serving. Sometimes we give up because we’ve lost our vision of WHO we are truly serving. I know from personal experience a “goal” can replace Christ as my true focus. But a “what” cannot become more important than Christ. Be Thou My Vision is not just a Sunday lyric; it should be an everyday prayer and motivation.
Do you feel like giving up on something, someone, or yourself? Jesus never gives up on us! And for that matter He never gives up on things that are important to us! Let’s draw strength today from Him and stay in the race.