Written by Taytum Allwood
The challenge for me this year has been to run the race set before me with perseverance. What I am learning is that even though running this way has great rewards, it isn’t easy! Not giving up means that hard times are guaranteed but our attitude to keep going is what makes us unstoppable! How do we produce this kind of perseverance in our lives?
“…We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance ; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5: 3-5 NIV
Because of the conscious decision involved to run without giving up even in the most difficult of circumstances, character is produced in our lives . Character is the substance of who we are in our inner being. The product of character is evident in how we choose to live as a result. Someone who: gives up easily; heeds to the opinions of others; does not get up when life knocks them down; allows anger to breed bitterness in their hearts rather than to forgive; is held back by fear, disappointment, loss, failure, or self consciousness…. will not produce the deep character I am referring to.
Honestly, I know we are all held back at times. Myself included. I am not always brave. I care far too much about the opinions of others, I am afraid to fail. But the point is that we don’t stay there. Once we’re able to confess and face up to the hard stuff in our lives, we are in a position to do something about what comes next. We are in a position for God to transform us by His grace.
But we cannot rely on the strength of our character alone. If each of us really searched our souls, we would discover that we need something far greater to look to than just our own ability to overcome challenges. This is the encouragement I want to remind us of … that we have an unshakable hope in Jesus! Hope is the silver lining, it is the reminder we do not just live for the moment but for eternity. It is the prize which motivates us to run well.
“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” – Hebrews 6:18-19
This is so beautiful to me! To think that we have a hope that is an anchor for our souls means that as we cling to it, even the roughest seas will not send us flying into a wild storm and leave us broken and ship-wrecked. It is a sure hope, a hope that can be depended upon! The second part is even more beautiful … it is an invitation to be with God in the very sanctuary of His presence.
Our God loves us so much that He invites us into the place of intimacy with Him where we are held completely safe and whole in His love. May we truly know this hope that anchors our souls in all of life, causing us to grow in our journey with a faithful and loving God.