You've worked all week, the kids have tried your patience, you've missed activities that you have committed to because of unscheduled interruptions we call life. How do you stay on track? How do you keep momentum going to push forward, to bring the most positivity out of your situation, and to focus on maintaining your momentum? All of that while trying to balance so much that comes at you on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis. Keeping momentum...not just for an hour, not just for your work day, but we are talking 365 days a year. How do we keep pushing forward in our walk with the Lord, how do we keep that balance in family and work to be sure that we are not distracted by the world's chaos? We do it by taking a step back, breathing, and reminding ourselves of God's promises. Living the Word every day through our lives and our actions. This is what helps keep momentum. This is what gives us gives us strength. This is the only sure hope that we can make it through.
1 Corinthians reminds us that if we stand our ground, nothing we do will come out empty and that we will bear fruit . No matter how hard, no matter how ridiculed or chastised we are for our choice to stand up for Christ and to live a right life; if we persevere and push through, everything we will have done will be used for the good of the kingdom if we do not hold back. Remember that, and that can help keep you pushing forward to fight the good fight. “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 MSG)
Speaking of pressing on, Philippians shows us this same concept. Looking for the finish line, not getting focused in what is tripping us up right now or how much farther we still have to go. We need to focus on today, battle today, because tomorrow will have a whole other set of circumstances that we need to focus on in that time. But each day if we push forward searching for the finish line and that beautiful ribbon that we can raise our hands high and run through with our heads held high and smiling in victory, then our prize is eternity with Christ. We can have that, we can cross that finish line...but not without momentum. “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14 NLT)
James 1 goes on to tell us that we WILL have trials, we WILL have tests in this life. That is part of living in an imperfect world and a corrupt society. But we are given the tools to persevere, we are given the promises that we don't have to walk through these fires alone. There is no temptation that can come before us that the Lord does not give us a way out of, if only we want it bad enough. Temptations of the mind to worry, control, and stress. Worries of the flesh to be less than honorable with our eyes, thoughts, or body. Temptations of power with money, position, and manipulation. But when we choose right choices and when we persevere--when we walk through that fire-- James 1 shows us that we will receive the crown of life. This is been promised to us generations back from Our Almighty Father himself. We know He is perfect, we know He is all-knowing, and we know He never fails. So we can hold that deeply in our hearts and know that we WILL have hard times, we WILL face circumstances where we are scared, we are hurt, we are betrayed, we are worried, we fail others ...but if we look to God to get us through those circumstances we can stay on the right path. We CAN live an honorable and godly life, and we CAN receive that crown to have placed upon our head as we cross that finish line we spoke of earlier. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:2 NIV)
In closing, I want to turn to Romans. This specific Scripture kind of wraps this all up and embodies everything we just have gone over. Basically stated, there's so much more to come than we can see. God knows so many things that we don't know. Do we want to give up, settle for less, live less respectable then we could...especially if we don't know the circumstances, outcomes, consequences, or what it will cost us in the end? There is more to come, there are riches and glory beyond our wildest dreams; the ones that we store up for heaven. But we have to keep pushing forward, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Exhausting? Absolutely. Even just saying that you may say that is impossible. However, there is one thing we know about God; that all things are possible with God. Romans remind us of being overshadowed in trouble, of us losing our patience, of a feeling that we got the short end of the stick. But what's the truth? The truth is God is there all the time, we need only to go to Him and ask Him for help. “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:3 MSG)
Continue praising Him through the hard times, asking Him to give us patience in the trying times, asking Him to keep our respect and purity in our marriages and relationships, asking Him to help us keep our head free from pride when it comes to control or power in career or friendships. One Scripture that really puts it into perspective for us is this one…when we think our lives and trials are more than we can bear and that we will not be able to make it through, memorize this Scripture and keep it close to your heart to remind yourself of how much smaller everything is than it truly seems sometimes, and of the continual blessings that God pours down on you: “Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up.” (Hebrews 12:3 GNB)
The Holy Spirit and the Lord wants to pour into our lives in a way that we can't even comprehend. He has so much waiting for us at that finish line and He aches for us to claim our prize. To claim our prize we must finish the race, to finish the race we must maintain momentum. Sometimes it doesn't look like it's worth it in the moment, but I am telling you...it is certainly worth it at the final destination. Won't you all please keep momentum with me? Keep your eyes on the prize, and walk with me...no, RUN full speed with me through that finish line to receive your crown!