On December 18th, we covered perseverance in the book Uprising. The end game of this quest is wisdom and while the future is full of uncertainty, the choices you make today do have a role in your future. If you make wise choices today, you create a better future. Foolish choices = future consequences. We talked about this a few weeks ago but think about this in terms of money and saving for your future vs. no fiscal discipline and the future cost of that decision.
In James 1:1 it says “Consider it joy when you face trials…” – it is a reality of life that you will face trials. Following Jesus and surrendering your life means you will face future trials. “Oh great” you say, “then why follow Jesus?” Choose not to follow Jesus and guess what, you’ll face trials in your future. Either way, we will face trials. The choice is “do we face those trials with Jesus or alone?”
Our trials send us through the fires that make us the kind of people who can walk through fires. That’s why we should consider it joy when we face trials – they are tempering us like steel forged in a fire. The hotter the fire, the stronger the hammer, the stronger the resulting steel.
But many of us don’t want to go through the tough times – we want God to use us to do great things but we’re not willing to be tested, not willing to be humbled.
However we must remember that when God calls on us to step UP, it will be a heroic quest. You will be called to live your most courageous and noble life. You’ll be called to live a life of sacrifice and if you haven’t been tempered by fire, tested and strengthened, you’ll fail.
A “man of steel” is built over a lifetime. Our goal is to be Godly men of steel. A 20-year-old cannot possibly step UP into this challenge. He simply isn’t ready. He hasn’t been tested. He lacks training and experience and cannot pull back on past experiences to know how to react. A 20-year-old cannot be the CEO. He just isn’t ready. And yet, society teaches us that all the good stuff happens young.
The great news is this — the things most extraordinary about you are yet to come. I’m 49 and it’d be easy to think I’ve peaked long ago but I simply don’t believe that. God is using me in ways that are very exciting and I’ve grown more spiritually in the past 5 years than I grew in the previous 20.
Men, it is possible to be physically stronger at age 49 than you were at 20. That’s a fact. If you work and lift and push and dedicate, you can bench press more today than you did as a young man. The same is true spiritually. As you age and God tempers you, He can move you into incredibly heroic quests. But the key is perseverance. You’re going to face challenges and you have to persevere. It isn’t how you start the race but how you finish it. You don’t want to crash late in life. We all have mistakes and train wrecks in our life. We want the train wreck chapter to be 3-4 chapters ago. We don’t want that in our future. We all know too many men who seemed to be Godly leaders and who failed late in life, had an affair with a girl 20-30 years younger than him and he destroyed his family and life-long reputation.
The word perseverance comes from the same Greek word as patience and endurance. God is trying to build resilience that lives above the damage we’ve done to ourselves. Satan is going to come after us like he came after Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus wore Satan down. We want to be the kind of men who wear Satan down and no matter how great the temptation, we will never, never, never give in. No matter how tempting that other woman is, we won’t go near her. No matter how tempting internet porn is, we will never step into that dark room. No matter how tempting it is to cut corners at work, we will never be compromised. We WILL persevere and in so doing, God will strengthen our resolve. Be the kind of man who never gives up.