Monthly Archives: August 2016

Giving It All

AFfittest

In my life I’ve discovered that quitting does not come in an all or nothing package.  Quitting can come in little increments.  One small concession in an area of life can become the single point of failure, or the first of many small concessions.  Tomorrow is my Air Force fitness assessment.  Part of that assessment is a mile and a half run.  (Which is why you’ve heard a lot about my running.)   The run portion of the assessment has a maximum time that every runner must beat or the test is a failure.  You don’t have to walk off the track halfway through the run to fail.  You can fail by simply letting your body quit just a little each time around the track.  A two-minute lap time can easily turn into a two-and-a-half-minute lap time.  Without realizing it, our little quittings have turned into a big failure.

In our lives we may be tempted to quit just a little, holding back just a little when God is asking for nothing more than our all.  Do we pretend that we have given it all?  Like Ananias and Sapphira found out, lying about giving everything can have serious threshing-floorconsequences.  In the other John 3:16 (1 John 3:16) we know the love of God because he laid down his life for us; therefore, we ought to give it all for each other.  King David wanted to honor God by building him an altar.  He went to the threshing floor of Araunah to buy it from him.  Araunah offered to give the threshing floor, the instruments, the oxen to David.  However, David refused to take the gift from Araunah.  “No, I will surely buy it from you for a price.  For I will not offer anything to the LORD my God that costs me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24.

In our lives, in our trials, in our sufferings, in our triumphs, let us be willing to give God our all.  Step back and watch God do great things with our total surrender.

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Knowledge of God in Suffering

running morning2I’ve mentioned before how I seem to get the keenest spiritual insights while I am running. (See All Sufficient Grace, Refreshing Water, and Jesus: Redeemer and Judge).  Today I think I found out a large reason why.

While listening to Kari Jobe’s “Forever” I came across the line that said “The weight of every curse upon him.” That line made me think of the immense suffering the man, Jesus, endured. He had a body like mine, with all the pains, aches, hungers, emotions.  The mockery, scourging, insults, beatings were enough to break the strongest heroes of lore. Yet, Jesus carried his cross further.  He had to endure the humiliation of needing help to carry his cross.  Yet, his pain wasn’t done.  Arriving at the Place of the Skull (Golgotha), Forever CrossJesus had to endure the excruciating pain of being hung on a cross by nails, with open wounds on his back and a beaten body.  Yet, through the mocking of the Pharisees (“He saved others but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” Matthew 27:42), and from the thief next to him (“Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” Luke 23:39) Jesus persevered.

Jesus endured that suffering because he knew of the glory on the other side of it, not that he would be raised to the right hand of the Father (and he was), not that his fame would be spread throughout all the earth (and it is), but that we might be brought back into a right relationship with God.

“It is finished!”

That was not an expression of a man resigned to his fate.  It was a shout of victory!  It was an announcement the He had fulfilled all of the work his Father gave him.  The work of our salvation was complete, and now he rests, seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3; 10:9-13), his fame throughout the earth (Habakkuk 2:14; Philippians 2:10).

I do not like running. It is strenuous.  It takes a lot out of me.  I don’t want to diminish the suffering of Jesus by comparing it to my running, but when I run, I identify in a very small way what Jesus endured on the cross. (I know some of you may love running.  It is not a painful chore you have to endure.  I wish I were there with you.)  But, as I endure the suffering of running, and I feel like quitting, I remember how Jesus did not quit until He had finished what He set out to do.  As I suffer in running it reminds me that there is knowledge in the power of His resurrection AND in  the fellowship of His suffering. (Philippians 3:10).  By being made conformable unto His death, I will partake in His resurrection.

Perhaps enduring the suffering of running has cleared my mind to hear His voice.  Suffering has a unique way of giving us another glimpse of who God is.  In the midst of your suffering, purpose to know God in a deeper way.  He endured the greatest suffering simply to restore a relationship with you.  He suffered to know you.  In your suffering He wants you to know Him.