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Never Give Up

Never Give Up

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Published by dlee7067
Everyone who is trying to live the Christian life has probably at one time or another felt like giving up, giving up on themselves as incapable of living the life of a Christian. A look at some Bible characters that have come before us ought to help.
Everyone who is trying to live the Christian life has probably at one time or another felt like giving up, giving up on themselves as incapable of living the life of a Christian. A look at some Bible characters that have come before us ought to help.

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Published by: dlee7067 on Mar 14, 2009
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06/16/2009

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Never Give Up
When we learn the truth of the gospel message, come to believe it, and then sincerelyobey it we sometimes expect more of ourselves than is humanly possible for us to deliver.When we first come out of the water of our baptism we are determined that we will notsin, we are going to live sin free. This attitude is to be highly commended but is alsounrealistic.Many who obey the gospel do so when young and thus their own expectations about lifeare not in accord with reality. They have little idea of what it will be like to live as anadult in the real world with the pressures that daily face people. When they areconfronted with them, are no longer sheltered but must face them head on, they begin tostumble here and there on occasion. Discouragement settles in for the one who wassincere in his or her gospel obedience.The thinking becomes I have sinned, and then I did it again either in the same way or another way, and then again, and the first thing you know it seems like you are trapped ina body that not only insists on sinning but has power over one’s own will. We becomediscouraged and cease feeling good about ourselves. We think I am not good enough; Icannot live the Christian life; I am just not a strong enough person.The truth is that almost all of us at one point in time or another have felt that way, oftenover extended periods of time. What do we do when that happens? Too many justgradually give in to those kinds of feelings and give up. But, is the situation hopeless?Does it have to be that way? I would like to take a look into the lives of some of God’s people who seemingly had the same problems I speak of here and see what they did thatwas sinful, what led them to do it, and how they handled it in the hope that it will help allof us.There is no doubt that Moses was a great man of God. He spoke with Christ on theMount of Transfiguration prior to Christ’s suffering. The Hebrew writer says of Moses,“And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant.” (Heb. 3:5 NKJV) Yet, weknow God would not allow Moses to enter the promised land because of his own sin.What was that sin?While the children of Israel were traveling through the wilderness after having come outof the land of Egypt they came to a place later called Massah and Meribah, a place wherethere was no water and a place in which the people grew thirsty and began to complain toMoses. Moses went to God concerning the matter and God directed him to go to the rock there and speak to the rock and strike it with his rod and water would come forth. Mosesdid this but failed to give God the glory instead saying before striking the rock “must we bring water for you out of this rock?” We infer from this that he was speaking of himself and his brother Aaron who was with him. God was left out of the picture and not giventhe glory. For this Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. (See the accountsof this in Exodus 17:1-7, Numbers 20:2-13, Numbers 20:24, Numbers 27:12-14, andDeut. 32:48-52.)
 
Moses was such a great man of God that God spoke to him face to face. “So the Lordspoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend,” is what the Bible says inExodus 33:11 (NKJV) (see also Num. 12:8 and Deut. 34:10). Please note that this is saidof Moses 16 chapters after the events concerning the water at the rock, after Moses’ sin.So, what was it that would cause such a great man of God to sin in this way?The answer is the very same thing that gets to us as Christians today – pressure on the job, stress in our life. Moses in Exodus 17:2 says to the people who were complaining,“Why do you contend with me?” The very next verse, verse 3, says, “the peoplecomplained against Moses”, and it gets so bad that in verse 4 Moses says to God, “Whatshall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” That is pressure on the job. When Moses says they are almost ready to stone me we should not think that he isspeaking figuratively but stoning was a real possibility if things did not soon get better.The Psalmist says with regards to this event, (Psalms 106:32-33 ESV), “They angeredhim (God – DS) at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips.” Moses grew angry and bitter at the people and spoke rashly out of passion rather than calmly with forethoughtand failed to give God the glory. When we speak in the heat of passion there is seldomany good that can come out of it.I have used Moses as an example for us today for how often it is that Christians findthemselves in very high stress situations, under all kinds of pressure, and the result is thatwe too end up like Moses and sin under the stress. What kinds of sin? A whole host of sins could be mentioned, here are a few. We begin to put God on the back burner andgive him second place in our lives feeling that there is just not enough time to doeverything. Attendance at worship services begin to lag, Bible reading ceases, prayer time diminishes, there is no time for good works, we begin doing whatever it is that isrequired of us to stay in good standing in our job even if it means sacrificing our Christian life. It is easy to eventually end up as a Christian drop out.This can happen and it does happen all of the time. The more professional your job, themore responsibility you have, the more of an executive position you hold the tougher it becomes. Expectations are so great and the kinds of people we often work with are far from having Christian character, just the opposite, and it makes it very difficult to surviveas a Christian. With all the attempts to get the most out of the least it seems abouteveryone is under pressure on the job no matter what position they hold – blue collar or white collar.I want to say there are no easy answers to these kinds of situations that we find ourselvesin. I heard one preacher say words to the effect that we can quit. Yes, and then what?Will the next job be any better? This is America 2008. If there are any stress free jobs inour country today I do not know where or what they are. We cannot herd sheep. Whatcan we do then?
 
We can hang in there. We can fight the battle as best we can. We can pray to God for help. We can do our best. We can trust God’s grace. We can follow Moses example andnot give up. When God told him of his sin and told him he would not be allowed into the promised land he could have given up. He could have said I have the toughest job in theworld leading these people that are continually giving me a hard time and they are bringing me down with them and I quit, I give up. Despite my best efforts I cannot livefaithfully and please God.Had Moses done this what then? Where would he be today? Would he have met withJesus on the Mount of Transfiguration? Would he have been called a faithful man in the book of Hebrews as is the case? What did Moses do?He did not quit. He accepted his sin for what it was and went on with life. He continuedto trust in God as his hope and salvation. This is exactly what we need to do today.Remember Moses when things get tough in your life and follow his example.Another man I would like to deal with is David. You know the story of David, a man theBible says was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). And yet, as great a man of God as David was, his sin with Bathsheba is perhaps the best known case of adultery thatever occurred. And, one can add murder to his list of sins for having Bathsheba’shusband, Uriah, killed. The account of this affair can be found in 2 Samuel 11 and 12.David was a man who had always done God’s will. If he had lived in the Christian erawe would say there is a man who is so strong in the faith that it is impossible for me tolive up to the example he sets. We might well say of him, if he lived near us, that he isthe best Christian man I have ever met. Of course, David was not a Christian as he livedunder the law of Moses but I say this to emphasize what a man of God he truly was, asuper role model.Yet, he fell mightily. He lusted with his eyes and heart after Bathsheba and then had her husband Uriah killed to cover his tracks and hide his sin when he discovered Bathshebawas with child, his child. All this sin began when because of outside stimulus his heartceased to be pure.Yet, despite his sin, as horrible as it was, the Bible speaks highly of him. Here is what itsays in comments that are being made about Abijam, a king that came later down the roadafter David. 1 Kings 15:3-5 (NKJV), “His heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, aswas the heart of his father David. Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gavehim a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside fromanything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah theHittite.”When David’s life on earth ended he was found in God’s favor. The words I just quotedabove were after David’s death.

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