MONDAY COLUMN: “NEAL AT THE CROSS”
It’s the time of year when so many are buying or receiving calendars and planners or using an electronic version of the same. These can be key to organizing our lives, maximizing our time management, and strategizing ways to grow and improve in the future. Good stewardship really demands that you are “making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).
In this task of planning life each day, please consider planning to do the following each and every day of 2020:
- Tell someone about what Jesus has done for you every day.
- Tell God how great He is and grateful you are for Him as you pray every day.
- Let God speak to You through His Word every day.
- Tell your spouse, children, and family you love them every day.
- Show someone the servant heart of Jesus in your deeds every day.
- Do something that will help you look more like Jesus every day.
- Help people see the joy and satisfaction of living the Christian life every day.
- Encourage someone (via card, social media, phone, etc.) every day.
- Compliment someone every day.
- Examine yourself every day.
- Provide an example of leadership to someone every day.
- Invest in someone every day.
- Count your blessings every day.
That’s enough to keep idleness from plaguing us, isn’t it? Consider how helpful this will be, not just on January 1, but also March 19, June 6, September 25, and December 30. This life is about overcoming (1 John 5:4), but perseverance is as much about the daily grind as it is the dramatic and grand. Zig Ziglar wrote that “people often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” How profound! Plan on being a better you and on doing what that requires, day by day.
Grambling State’s Shakyla Hill pulled off a rare feat in basketball last night, achieving a “quadruple double” (meaning at least ten of four statistical categories–points, steals, rebounds, blocks, and/or assists). It was the first time a woman had done that in Division One in a quarter century and only the fourth all-time. There have only been five official quadruple doubles in NBA History. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t happen much. How does it happen? Of course, there are innate gifts like speed, size, and ability, but there surely had to be tenacious effort, too.
In keeping our resolutions, there must be tenacity. We should ask ourselves every day, “How badly do I want to achieve this goal?” The New Testament word for that is perseverance, a word found 22 times there (The Greek word ὑπομονή is found 32 times, also translated “patient” and “endurance” a few times). It means, “The capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty” (BDAG, 1039). Sometimes, it seems effortless to conquer a matter. Other times, it can feel almost impossible. Factoring in God (as we mentioned in part two), we can have confidence that He can strengthen us to hold out and bear up whatever the challenge. Scripture tells us the outcome of perseverance:
- Bearing fruit (Luke 8:15).
- Eternal life (Rom. 2:7).
- Proven character (Rom. 5:3-4).
- Successful waiting (Rom. 8:25).
- Hope (Rom. 15:4).
- Joyously giving thanks (Col. 1:11).
- Being a man or woman of God (1 Tim. 6:1).
- Receiving what is promised (Heb. 10:36).
- Running the Christian race (Heb. 12:1).
- Being perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (Jas. 1:3-4).
- Seeing the good outcomes of the Lord (Jas. 5:11).
- Useful and fruitful (cf. 2 Pet. 1:6-8).
- Not growing weary (Rev. 2:3).
- Greater deeds (Rev. 2:19).
- A blessing in death (Rev. 14:12-13).
Now, apply this to your resolutions for 2018. There may be missteps along the way, a temporary loss of self-discipline, a sin or mistake, or a poor judgment. No matter! Resolve to hold out and bear up, no matter how hard the task. You will be glad you did, and you will find it rewarding.