Summary: Many people have gone before us and endured hardship and persecution. The Prophets, Job, Peter, Mark Buntain, Rachel Scott, Cassie Burnel, the list goes on of those who have stayed the course through all the trials and challenges.
Many people have gone before us and endured hardship and persecution. The Prophets, Job, Peter, Mark Buntain, Rachel Scott, Cassie Burnel, the list goes on of those who have stayed the course through all the trials and challenges. We can make it through the storm! Not even Hurricane Katrina can stop us!
Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do it’s slow but sure work. Be aptient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could come arrive at any time.
Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged about you, you know. The judge is standing just around the corner.
Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, or course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.
Endure – “to remain under” and speak of endurance under great stress.
Patience – “to stay put and stand fast when you’d like to run away.”
Tonight as we talk about “staying the course”, we’re talking about staying focused, standing strong, not quitting.
Like in the movie The Perfect Storm, the crew of the Andrea Gail worked together to keep that boat on it’s course even with the wind, the rain, and waves pounding in their face.
Staying the course is about patience in the face of suffering. Patience is not passive acceptance of our situation. Patience is courageous perseverance in the face of suffering and difficulty (from chapter 1).
3 encouraging points to help us stay the course…
1. Stay the Course – Jesus is coming Back
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat and prayed asking God “Why”. Why the storms? Why the suffering? Why the trials?
Every time He tells me, “Because there’s a bigger picture that you can’t see right now.”
James gives us an example of a farmer, “waiting for their valuable crops to mature”. Seeds don’t sprout up over night to produce an abundant crop. Farmers have to wait for the rain, the sun, the growth of the seed.
a. God is producing a harvest in you. He wants the fruit of His Spirit to grow inside of you.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
The fruit of the Spirit are produced and perfected as we stay the course through trials and testings.
b. We need to tend to the world harvest.
36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matthew 13:36-38)
WE are the workers! Farming takes patience, but it also takes hard work and preparation as they wait for the harvest. What are you doing about the world harvest?
2. Stay the Course – Other’s have charted the course
Illustration: Ferdinand Magellan & Christopher Columbus
There are also those who have charted the course for us when it comes to Christianity.
- The prophets – called out sin and foretold the future
- Job – persevered through great trials and sufferings
- Missionaries – Mark Buntain & Heather Chowning
- Rachel and Cassie - modern day martyrs
a. They never quit – patience in times of suffering is a testimony to those around you
b. They trusted God – “The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”
c. They gave everything to be a witness – from the Greek word martyr – Rachel & Cassie
Like the farmer, we keep working at the harvest – in our personal lives and in the world. Like the prophet, we keep witnessing no matter what the cost.
But what happens when I make it through the storm but I lose friends, some of my free time, money…
God cares about those details and we need to trust that He will provide.
3. Stay the Course – God will bless