Devotions

Spiritual Stamina

“Ball four!”  It was close, but the call didn’t go the pitcher’s way.  The batter walked to first base.  Yet another run scored.  The dejected lad trudged off the mound, and didn’t feel like pitching ever again.

“I’m very tired.”  The long-distance runner had pain shooting up her legs as she struggled to get her breath.  Everything hurt.  Immediately ahead of her was a steep climb.  And even though she wasn’t even halfway through her marathon, she had talked herself out of continuing to run. 

Both examples describe someone in need of sports stamina.  While it’s valuable to “keep on keeping on” during a sporting event, much more can be at stake than that, can’t it?  Consider the major difference between sports stamina and spiritual stamina.

“Your cancer has come back.”  The patient staggers at the terrible news.  Their family staggers even more.  And they wonder how they are going to make it even one more day.  Has God turned his back on them?  Can they trust in the Lord to get them through?  Will they be able to sincerely pray, “Thy will be done” – or would things get better if they took a break from trusting God for awhile?  They need spiritual stamina. 

“But everyone else is doing it.”  The temptation has arrived, full-force.  There’s no end in sight.  Everyone else seems to be yielding one million percent of their heart to wickedness.  Can your faith survive?  Is it even worth fighting to do what God wants?  And even if you manage to make it through today…what about tomorrow?  Help!  Send spiritual stamina, immediately!         

We.  Need.  Spiritual.  Stamina.  And that’s exactly what Jesus Christ offers.  Check out this verse:  “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (I Thessalonians 1:3).”  

The young Christian church in Thessalonica had barely been around.  Many gods had been worshiped there for centuries.  Default mode in that town was to love money, and explore “if it feels good, do it” lusts.  The notion that God would hold anyone accountable was scoffed at.  Persecution of these young Christians was vicious and personal.  And yet, the powerful Word of God kept those Christians going.  These Thessalonians had spiritual stamina.

Their faith said, “The LORD is with me – what can man do to me?”  and their lifestyles moved forward from there, regardless of what the community thought.  Their love told them, “God has been so good to us!  We stand forgiven, now and forever.”  They were confident that energy and money spent for the Lord was never in vain.  They kept telling one another, “Our problems are temporary; but our home in heaven is eternal.”   Their spiritual stamina skyrocketed, and they weren’t even trying to make it happen.

Would you like more spiritual stamina?  Don’t be you-centered, money-centered, problem-centered, or them-centered.  Just be Jesus-centered.  Enjoy the spiritual stamina he lived, died and rose to give you
 

Prayer:  Powerful and ascended Lord, you know how furious Satan is whenever anyone becomes a Christian.  You know that he wages war against those who keep your commands, and seeks to devour all as a roaring lion devours an antelope.  But you have already triumphed over him forever.  So, deliver us from evil.  Put me, and all your people, outside the scope of the accuser’s reach.  Bring relief in your time and way.  Shield us from Satan’s fury and rage.  Drown out all of his accusations with the songs of your deliverance.  Fill the hearts of every embattled saint with loud hallelujahs, and full confidence in your love.  It’s in your holy name that I pray.  Amen.

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