Do not neglect the spiritual gifts within you. Take pains, be absorbed, your progress evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:14-15
In a day where it's very popular and normal to pay lots of attention to ourselves...it's incredibly easy to STOP paying close attention to ourselves before God.
I mean that it's incredibly easy to slip away from that which was our first love, His strong conviction, our God-given passion, His high standard of righteousness and holiness.
If we are not careful, it is easy to grow weary. If we're not diligent, it is easy to grow lazy in our discipline, to become a bit too loud to clearly hear His voice, to become a little too busy to carefully follow His leading. If we're not paying close attention, it's easy to let worry creep in, to let pride poke at our hearts, to let reckless abandon...become wary abandon...become nothing abandoned.
Somewhere once I heard that Satan's greatest weapon is often just perseverance in little tiny chipping away...If he just waits, we will often grow lazy or tired or negligent, and soon the little lies, the "mild" pressures, the "innocent" allowances of sin and pride and busy-ness and worry will come in, and we will let them....and Satan will have victory in our lives.
Of all the powerful passages His Word affords, it is most often the many on perseverance that most encourage my soul.
There are times that the fruit is so sweet, the work so good, the provisions so many. And there are times when it feels like we're back at all over again, like the path is more prickly and hard than ever, like we can't at all see how it's all going to stretch, much less be enough.
It is then that it matters most, isn't.
His Words of persevering, of taking up our courage, of keeping on, faithful...they are all we need, all we need.
So I speak to myself, and you can listen in.
This journey--which is often times far too glamorous a name--it is not about the powerful, beautiful moments, though they move mountains and carry us far. This journey is in the never tiring of doing good, no matter how tired we might be. It is in the being patient in hope, joyful in affliction, faithful in prayer, no matter how much hard work it is to be faithful in prayer, to choose joy, to hold hope. It is in the enduring patiently, even when we are long past running out of patience. In the being faithful, no matter how faithful anyone or thing else is, being Faithful.
Man, I want to BE that woman...the ever-faithful, the persevering one, the regardless-of-the-circumstances or the day or the mood or the hour kind.
Be faithful, carry on friend. Take pains, pay attention. There is nothing Satan would rather do than comfort us, distract us. And there is nothing our Father would rather do than find us faithful.