“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
Revelation 3:10 (New American Standard Bible)
Growing up, I have always struggled with my weight. When I was in Elementary school, I was given the nick name “Quarter Pounder”. When I was an adult I put forth effort multiple times to lose the weight and was successful. Yet despite those successes, I always
ballooned back to my former weight and became even more miserable.
Regardless of what goal we strive to achieve; whether it is improving finances, better health, or making better relationships; we start out really good but as time goes on, we slip back into our old habits and we lose traction. We have the best intentions with our goals, so why do we fail in them? I believe that when it comes to getting things accomplished, we need more than good intentions.
In Revelation 3:10, Jesus is speaking to the Church fellowship in Philadelphia (not the American City). This church has faced a lot temptations, but they did not let them compromise their faith. For their enduring faith, Jesus promised them that He Himself would protect them from the time of testing or temptation that will and has consumed the entire earth.
The reason why the church in Philadelphia was successful was not because they had good intentions nor did they have stronger will power. It was because they had endurance that was fueled by their faith in Christ. Where did they get the strength to overcome the temptation of the world?
Human strength is not enough to resist the enticements that the world offers. Our flesh loves to be comfortable and is lazy, and the world offers both. What is needed to persevere is divine interference from God. His power and strength are more than enough to overcome all temptation.
How do we obtain the strength of God? It is not something that comes automatically the moment you become a follower of Christ. In order to receive the strength to resist all temptation, we need to ask the Lord in prayer for His power and believe that He will provide it. Too often, people pray for strength and they fall into temptation and sin anyway; does that mean that God’s strength failed?
Absolutely not! The failure was on the one who stumbled. In order to receive the full power of the Lord, you must be willing to resist the temptation you are facing. For example, suppose you say that you are no longer going to drink alcohol, but you go to a bar and you pray that God would strengthen you to resist the temptation to buy a drink. If you really wanted to quit drinking, you shouldn’t have gone to the bar in the first place.
Each of us has a recurring sin that constantly tries to tempt us to indulge in it. If you are sick and tired of constantly stumbling into this sin, you must be willing to make the sacrifices needed to resist it. Struggle with spending, create a budget and stick to it; have a drinking problem, steer clear of bars; having weight trouble, stay away from fast food, create a fitness plan and stick to it.
These sacrifices will be hard to keep because our flesh likes to indulge in sin. However, when we cry out to God constantly to resist these urges, the Lord is faithful and will open your eyes to healthier alternatives. Furthermore, He would encourage you in perseverance by sharing with you what your future will look like when you stand fast against temptation.
I decided that I was sick and tired of being heavy. I set up a fitness plan, created a food budget and exercise plan. Already I have seen great results having already lost 30 pounds!
However I could not have done this on my own. Often I had to resist the urge to just be lazy and eat sweets. However, the Lord put in my heart what my life will be like if I kept
at it and so I endure knowing the benefits are worth it.
What thing do you want to change in your life? If you really want to change be willing to make sacrifices to achieve them. Remember to ask God frequently for endurance to move forward to your goal. It will not be easy, but think of the great blessing you will gain through God-fueled perseverance and it will encourage you to press on.