When we begin our new lives in Christ we are called to be committed.
This week we are looking at what kind of situations cause us to want to turn back, why we were made for so much more and that the only way through spiritual battles is forward.
Heb 10:39 But we are not of them that shrink back unto destruction; but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul.
This Scripture is about the Israelites when they saw the giants ahead of them in the land of Canaan and felt entirely inadequate in the face of the great size of the problem they faced. They turned back and were destroyed. If they had kept going they would have been victorious. This was proven forty years later when a bolder, more courageous, disciplined army of Israelites pushed forward and instead of being destroyed, they destroyed the enemy.
In two weeks we are holding baptism services, this is such an important part of following Jesus. John the Baptist introduced baptism as a sign you were repenting and being cleansed from your sins. However, after Jesus had died and risen again, the Apostle Paul added a whole new dimension to baptism. He declared that whoever was baptized was crucified with Christ, buried with Him, then raised to new life. Water baptism is saying "I’m dying to my old life, and entering into a new life in Christ."
Nothing is achieved with commitment. When we are called to life in Christ we are called to commitment. In saying we are going to follow Christ what are we committing to? A brand new lifestyle. This new lifestyle is like a new wineskin, to contain new wine. If we do not change our lifestyle we will lose the wine. We think sometimes like the Israelites, the first time they reached the Promised Land that retreat will take you to safety. They were afraid so they retreated, but when you move backwards, you shrink. God did not give us anything in Ephesians 6 (the Armour of God) to protect our back: the only way out of spiritual battles is forward. Even when you feel like you are facing a giant, and you cannot move forward, stay committed to God, keep coming to church because faith comes from hearing the word of God (Roman 10:17). Don’t retreat.
Here are three reasons why people turn back:
1. They Become Battle Weary.
It is easy to forget that God is fighting for them, or that you are beaten before they even try. They see themselves as grasshoppers in the sight of the giants. They forget what kind of people they are.
Psalm 78 is an incredible Psalm; A contemplation of Asaph. Ephraim turned back because they forgot how great God was. They were fully equipped to win the battle but they lacked the courage to enter the fight. Why? Because the previous generation stopped telling them the wonders of God. This is why Asaph writes this Psalm, so each generation would tell the next generation about the power of God and how great He is. We must never stop preaching faith, reminding young men and women how powerful and great God is. Talk about his wonders. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.
2. They Only See The Size Of The Vision.
People turn back when they feel that their little effort today is nothing in comparison to the size of the project. But, every little bit counts! Every step takes you closer. If you simply keep doing what you said you would do, they you will achieve it. Strengthen you achievement muscle. Keep doing the little things every day. Relentless consistency. Inch by inch we can do anything, don’t try to do life by the yard. Out of inspiration, motivation and commitment, I’ll always choose commitment. Commitment is when you keep doing something even when the inspiration that got you doing it has long faded away. I love what Louis Pasteur, the inventor of penicillin said, “Let me tell you the secret that has led to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” Every little bit helps us achieve what God has placed before us.
3. When They Encounter Tough Times.
Heb 12:1 Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
They lose sight of the vision – the big picture. They let their present pain overwhelm their purpose. Everything worth achieving has an equivalent opposition. You can tell the worth of a thing by the level of opposition to it. People turn back when they are discouraged. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. They are encouraging us. Whose voice are you listening to? The voice of discouragement or the voice of encouragement?
See you in church!