My two sons, who play on the same soccer team, haven’t won one soccer game all season. It’s agony to watch because they have tried so hard to win. Anxiously calling from the sidelines, I shouted at the last game, “It’s okay! Don’t give up! You can do it! Shake it off!” Then, finally, I yell out in frustration, “Get your head in the game!” Okay, so you get the picture.
With sweat rolling down their flushed faces, neither one of the boys made eye contact with me as we left the field. I tried to comfort them, but then came a fury of anger about the unfairness of the situation. After allowing them to vent for a few minutes, I asked them what they could do differently next time to help the team. They seemed to be at a total loss. I then carefully explained to them what I thought each of them could do to help their team to win. They got quiet, and I knew that they were thinking and calculating what each of them could do differently.
There are much bigger battles than a soccer game though. Some of us have health battles, marital issues, financial struggles, job losses, and a host of other situations that make us want to throw in the towel. However, we must never give up.
I Cornithians 9:24 says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” We must stay in the race and run to win. As Paul says, we are incorruptible, which means that we will not perish. The “race” we are in though in one where we must keep our faith in Christ in spite of the trials and tribulations that come our way.
Paul says to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:78). So, why are we running in the race? Our purpose must be clear. We are running the race to win, to endure until our course is finished. Again, our goal is to keep the faith and received the crown of righteousness.
Regardless of what our struggle or battle is in the natural sense, we must stay focused on the spiritual goal at all times. It will help us to prioritize and keep things in perspective. The natural battle may be huge, but we can overcome. Those that are anchored in Christ are victors. As the Word says, the battle is the Lord’s, and we’ve already won through Him. If we keep the faith, we will receive an eternal heavenly reward.
On our journey, each of us has to deny ourselves of whatever may harm us and discipline ourselves. It’s interesting because the Christian journey really is a life of freedom and discipline. To stay disciplined, we must pray, study the Word, and worship. Our spiritual progress is reliant on these things. We can’t win standing still. Pressing towards the mark calls on us to train and be diligent, doing all we know to do that is right and holy.
I have really been pressed in my spirit about the message of not giving up. It’s a battle that I find myself in so often, and when I look around, I see it all around. People give up when they are stuck in the situation they are in and feel hopeless. Our perspective has to be bigger than the immediate problem or problems. We must have a spiritual eye to sharpen our focus on the bigger picture. We have to remind one another and ourselves that enduring until the end is not an option. We are called to endure, and we will win. We can face trials much more easily when we have the attitude of being a conqueror through Christ.
I’d like to continue the next several devotions on not giving up. There are so many powerful scriptures that speak to this, and I know that when we abide in the true vine, we don’t ever give up.
When the opposing team scored the first goal at my sons’ last game, I heard my son grumble, “Well, we’re gonna lose again.” I already told you what the outcome was. Keeping our head in the game, no matter what the score, is of the utmost importance because we are guaranteed to win.
When did you feel like giving up? How did you overcome those feelings? Do you have a scripture that you have hidden in your heart that helps you overcome feelings of hopelessness? Drop me a line because I’d love to hear from you.
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