Monday, August 31

Effective Living: Staying Under the Load

<= Look at that camel. Sucks doesn't it! How would you like that job? You and I would drop that load in a hot second. It is hard to stay under the load sometimes. We feel pressure at work, at home. There is the need to keep a long view and stay under the load when things get hard. If we do there is great reward.

In 2 Peter we have God's version of how to be effective. They are, if you will, the 7 Habits of Effective Living:
1. Use the Moral Compass
2. Cultivate Knowledge
3. Apply Self-Control
4. Stay Under the Load
5. Respect God Well
6. Practice Kindness
7. Live Love

Today we look at the importance of staying under the load. This is something we can learn from a camel.

Read: 2 Peter 1:3-9
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

This is an important concept in our Christian growth. So much is lost right here at "perseverance". Galatians 6 says we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 6:7) which implies that giving up is a distinct temptation. Notice that harvest comes AFTER enduring.

1 Cor. 10:13 says that God works with us IN temptation so we can stand up under the load. The passage does not say that God removes the temptation nor that life would be a walk in a park. We are expected to go through the temptation and remain under the load of it. Notice that victory comes AFTER enduring.

The Jewish believers in the book of Hebrews were ready to quit. Having experienced persecution for their faith they were ready to drop Jesus and go back to the Jewish religious system. They were admonished to stay under the load, "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (10:36). Notice that the promise comes AFTER enduring.

Jesus stayed under the load of the cross 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" (Heb 12:2). Notice that the honor comes AFTER enduring.

The word for persevere is from the Greek, Hupo mo nay (ὑπομένω). It means to endure. It means to stay under the load. The word is used in each example above. What is the point? Well, victory, growth, godliness, experiencing God comes when we stay under the load of our circumstances, struggles, temptations, callings and the rest.

Peter calls the believers to stay under the load. They added goodness, knowledge and self-control to their faith and now they needed to stay at it. If they were to grow they needed to stay under the load and not quit. Same with us!

This is definitely a place that we can short circuit our lives. We will not be effective if we cut and run every time something uncomfortable happens or when we feel pressure. I have very specific places I go when I feel like my world is out of control. I can escape into the TV or the computer. I can use anger to manage my surroundings. These are comfortable for me and built on years of training. BUT the Lord calls me to trust Him and stay under the load. He calls me to bear my burden with perseverance like the camel.

Can you identify with the pressure to get out from under the load? Name a few of these before the Lord.

Next time the pressure is on, slow it down. Pray for strength to endure. Readjust the stuff on your back and stay under the load. Good things are coming if you do!

Watch this 2 min clip from The Mission. Robert De Niro plays a murderer looking for forgiveness. Good picture of staying under the load.

Stay Tuned: tomorrow we will watch a second clip of his reward: forgiveness! The joy of staying under the load. Awesome!
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.

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