Training for Reigning - 50 - When we feel like giving up

NEARLY EVERY CHRISTIAN feels that way at times. Still we must not even think of giving up the struggle to follow our Lord! Lifetime is Training-time for Reigning-time, you know: Luke 19:
11-27; 2 Tim. 2:12. Of course, to many of my young friends, Life seems terribly hard. But after all, we Christians do not expect to be "carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease." The Lord Jesus said: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it"; Luke 9:24. Nevertheless, to ever so many of us, to be asked to be willing, by His grace, to sacrifice our dreams . . . our plans
- . . our ideas . . . of what we want . . . our ambitions
our fierce desires to be independent and to live our lives in our own way - . . to let go every hindrance to the acceptance of God’s plan for our lives, seems too much altogether. Yet we must admit that Gal. 6:8 really is true. And the Rich Young Ruler lost out because he clung to his own ideas of financial security; Mark 10:24.
- Oh, certainly, it isn’t "natural"- even for Christians - to feel like that. The Self that is in us expects, demands, that we shall be "natural" in every way. And to be asked to deny all these "natural" inclinations - well, we know it to be necessary respecting things immoral, dishonest, or of evil report - but that is quite far enough for the Flesh to be willing to go. In addition, Reason (or, is it?) reminds us that, after all, we are only human, and can’t be expected to speak, act, and live as if we were perfect. Thus it comes to pass that, having quieted our consciences in this manner, we comfortably go on just as before. (We hadn’t intended to do anything else, any way). But then, one day, we bump into the startling truth of I John 2:6: "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself to walk even as He walked". . . and there it is - so plain! And the trouble is there just isn’t any way of talking around it. It means exactly what it says.
Right away after that, so often, there comes the reaction, "IT’S HOPELESS! I never can live up to that! And I don’t believe any Christian ever does, either . - . What about yourself, Mr. Paul? You are always preaching at us, but how well do you manage in walking as the Lord Jesus walked?"
Well now, supposing I were to tell you that I was getting along splendidly (which would not be true) would it help you, do you think?
Or if I told you that I’m having a daily battle to aim at it (which would be true) would that help you, do you suppose? Would not my confession be likely to encourage you to argue, "Well, if he finds it hard even to aim at such a walk, what can he expect of young Christians like us?" Or, it may be, you might say, "If he finds it hard there’s no use in my hoping to attain to
it. I might just as well give up."
Oh no, Beloved! Not one of us, young or old, ever must give upi What I seek to "put over" in this chapter is that we have to keep on fighting down ourselves, every day, every hour, in order to walk as He walked - in our measure. And for this struggle we can be, must be, effectively prepared by constant RENEWAL (2 Cor. 4:16) through the Word. Many Christians do not even pretend to equip themselves for the fray. Honour bright, now, is it not true our usual "preparations" consists of:-
-Hoping things may go better today than on bad days;
-Praying that we shall not have trouble today;
-Deciding to try to avoid all of it we can?
Queer isn’t it that a hopeful optimism, plus a reliance on meeting troubles, or temptations, as best we can whenever they may arise, should be about all the preparation for conflict that most of us ever think of having? This attitude seems somewhat similar to that of old-time Chinese soldiers who, we are told, sometimes marched to battle praying loudly, but armed onLy with fans!
-THE WORLD - with its allurements, its pleas to be one with it; to live, dress, think, talk and act like its own:
-THE FLESH - with its self-will, pride, ambitions, resentments, bad temper, fear of being considered different, or queer, its envyings, jealousies, evil-speakings, slangy talk, desires to have more (covetousness), spitefulness, sulky, irritable, or frivolous moods, its laziness or bossy-ness, and readiness to nurse a grudge, or hurt feeling and self-pity;
-THE DEVIL - so expert at making snares appear to be harmless little affairs, at framing excuses that really sound like valid reasons; at lulling consciences troubled about sins: who never helps us to read our Bibles, to pray, or to do good - but either will blister us for our failures, or else urge their unimportance lest we should try to mend our ways; who frightens us unreasonably when we even think of leaving all the choices with the Lord; who savours everything belonging to sin-spoiled mankind (Matt. 16:23) that he does all he can to keep our minds occupied with what PEOPLE are saying, or doing, in order to shut out of our interest, so far as possible, the things of God; and who so often visits us in the guise of an Angel bringing us Light;
-These enemies we are likely to meet, in differing forms every day we live! Then "how shall we do in the swelling of Jordan?" Note I Chron. 12:15.
Let us be certain in our minds that not only shall we need to pray for the faith which will produce a courage like that of David’s men, but we need the whole armour of God, also. No doubt you have listened to addresses on Eph. 6:10-18 - perhaps a number of times. But tell me this: Did they do you any particular good? For example, do you really believe the first eight words of verse 12? It tells us flatly that it is not other people who cause us our troubles.
-What would you say to that?
I won’t try to discuss the protective armour, but let me make one suggestion re the Sword of the Spirit - the Word of God. It is that you TEACH YOURSELF to say over, and over, and over (until they grip your being and quicken your spirit) such "quick and powerful" words as the following:
Luke 9:62: When you feel like quitting.
Matt. 11:26: When tempted to kick about your circumstances.
Psa. 23:1: When you are worried. Also Psa. 138:8a.
Psa. 56:3: When you are afraid. Also Psa. 27:1.
Rom. 8:28: When you feel discouraged, or "let down."
Phil. 4:13: When tempted to hide behind "I can’t."
Lam. 3:26: When tired of waiting for God to act. Also Isa. 49:23b.
Heb. 13:5b: When feeling lonely.
Matt. 11:6: When He does not seem to heed your prayers.
These are but a few of many short passages of Scripture - easily memorized - which, if repeated over and over many times (a minor form of Meditation) will be proved to be Weapons for Overcoming charged with Holy Spirit power. They also supply strength in the battles to REPLACE the very bad habit of giving in to "our nature" (flesh) with the good habit of giving in to the Lord. Others are learning to make use of the energy-imparting Word . . . why not you? - But don’t waste time arguing about this suggestion. And don’t just read these verses. Make a note of them on a blank page in your Bible. Learn them by heart. Then you will have something stored away upon which the Spirit can draw whenever you are assailed . . . and give up - NEVERI
Philemon 25: When you are getting indignant, or angry.