Gutting It Out or Giving In

Running the RaceIn John 16:33 Jesus encourages us, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s common knowledge that trouble being nonexistent in our lives is a rare experience.

And yet, when faced with trouble do we have peace, take heart, and lay claim to both the promise and the hope that Jesus has overcome the world?

Do we also lay claim to the promise and the power Jesus speaks of in Luke 10:19?

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Although not many of us are marathon runners in the physical sense, as believers we are life-long marathon runners in the spiritual sense.

Father trains us, prepares us, and has us run spiritual marathons for the duration of our walk of faith.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. – Acts 20:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. – 1 Cor 9:24

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Tim 4:7

Marathon and triathlete Coach Joe English, does an excellent job of explaining the value of gutting it out or giving in during workouts in his post, Training — Why do the Tough Get Going?

Paula Rinehart includes a quote in her book Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Gerald May that powerfully portrays the same concept on a spiritual level:

Because real risking in faith can occur only in those areas of life where we feel most impoverished and vulnerable, it never becomes something we are really comfortable with.  For each layer of trust that  builds up, another, more challenging risk is offered.

True faith choices, therefore, always feel like risks; they just go on, involving deeper and deeper levels of our being.  Each choice remains difficult; what really becomes conditioned in this process is simply our willingness and readiness to take the risks of faith.  They never stop feeling like risks.

If you’re currently being faced with the choice to gut it out or give in, I pray you remember inspiring words of truth from Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP):

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

photo credit: kaneda99 via photopin cc

Guts: What It Takes to Go Forth Victoriously

Finishing StrongGuts. . .

is what it takes to run this race of faith and finish victoriously.

So how do we keep going strong when faced with opposition and difficulties?

. . . with our God-given GUTS.

G – Go towards God

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Phil 3:13-14

U – Use His strength

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! – Hab. 3:19 AMP

T – Treasure the Immaterial (def.)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Mt 6:19-21

S – Steady your Eyes on the Eternal

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Heb 12:1-3

Few of us will go through the physical training that Dre Parker went through in The Karate Kid (2010).

But rest assured, all believers will go through a similar spiritual training with Father as our Guide and Coach. The circumstances and situations He brings us through in our lives are His training tools to strengthen us and to transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus (2 Cor 3:18).

Getting and then keeping guts is a tough process. Yet, our personalized training regiment lovingly and wisely comes through the nail-pierced hands of our Savior and Leader who loves us perfectly (1 Jn 4:18), knows us intimately (Psalm 139), and sovereignly controls everything (1 Tim 6:15).

May you take heart as God continues to develop in you — guts.

photo credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page via photo pin cc

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