The Apostle Paul and Jimmy V: Don’t Give Up. Don’t Ever Give Up.

We give up so easily.  When life goes a little astray from what we had planned, we panic, we stress; especially when a trial comes in our life that we never saw coming.  But Paul never called it quits, and he was dealing with way more important things than we posh Americans do.  Paul was dealing with his very life.  So what kept him going, what made life to him worth living in the awful circumstances he was thrown into? 

Jesus. Jesus Christ. 

He was beaten with 39 lashes, one short of death on five separate occasions.  He was shipwrecked three times; constantly in danger of being beaten and robbed, going days without sleep or food (2 Corinthians 11).  We face nothing near that, yet we give up over something that does not even matter.  And that lack of self discipline spills over into every area of our life; especially into our walk in the Spirit.  It is too difficult and time-consuming to spend time with God, so we give up.  We see no conversions from our witnessing efforts, so we stop.  We are tired of trying to fight temptation from peer pressure, so we cave.  We are apathetic Christians.  But, not Paul.  Paul was passionate. He started countless churches across Asia Minor, preached the Word faithfully under extremely hostile circumstances.  By human standards, his life was almost unbearably hard.  But Paul had

Jesus. Jesus Christ. 

In chapter 4 he says his “light affliction which is but for a moment is working…a far more eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (v. 17)  Paul did not give up.  In every way he was “afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed” (vv. 8-9).  By all accounts, Paul should have quit, but he did not, because he did not see the temporal, he saw the eternal.  In the end, it was all going to be worth any hardship and suffering, for he says in chapter five, even if our earthly body is destroyed, we have a heavenly one waiting for us, that cannot be corrupted or destroyed.  Paul had plenty more hardships going on in his life than we could probably ever imagine.  What got Paul through?

Jesus. Jesus Christ. 

He looked ahead, while many of us look around.  Somebody once said “obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”  Maybe that is our problem; we’ve taken our eyes off of Christ.  We are blinded by the world and what they think; blinded by our own passions, instead of the passions of Jesus.  But Paul says elsewhere to run the race.  What is hindering us from running?  It seems like we either run aimlessly forgetting the purpose of life, or we try to run our race bogged down with earthly things.  We are trying to run a marathon with weights on our shoulders and no shoes on our feet, when Paul clearly says, put aside everything that hinders you.  Lay it all down, for in the end it is worth it.

Because we have Jesus. Jesus Christ.  


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