What typically happens in our culture when things get difficult or don’t go people’s way?
People quit. It is always easier to give up than to keep fighting. Turnover in the field of disability is the norm, not the exception. There is a 44% turnover rate with DSPs (Direct Support Professionals). At any given time, there are 28% job openings in the field for DSPs. Why keep doing something that difficult when you can just find another job? The same can be said for people in relationships too. Moving on is always easier than digging in and figuring things out.
If people do not give up, they typically will find someone or something to blame for their problems. Nothing is ever your fault. It must be someone else’s fault, right? Taking responsibility or trying to figure things out is not a fashionable thing to do in our culture. Just give up or blame someone else.
You have no doubt had multiple opportunities to quit or to blame others for your difficulties. It is the easy thing to do. It is the fashionable thing to do. But is it the right thing to do? I think we all know in our hearts that it isn’t always the right thing to do.
The Apostle Paul has a lot of experience in the department of facing difficulties and discouragement. Two things that we never see from Paul are blaming others or giving up.
What Paul does and encourages others to keep doing is to keep fighting!
“Fight the good fight along with all other believers. Take hold of eternal life. You were chosen for it when you openly told others what you believe. Many witnesses heard you.”
1 Timothy 6:12
When you keep fighting you are not meant to do it alone. Paul says to do it alongside others. It is fighting in community that gives you the encouragement you need to keep going. Lone rangers rarely make it to the finish line.
While you keep fighting the good fight it is important to keep a proper perspective of the battle you are in. Pal paints a picture of the spiritual battle you are in.
“Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.”
Once you align yourself with Jesus you do not become immune to struggles. In fact, Jesus promises that your struggles will only increase. Why? Because there is an enemy that hates Jesus and is in an eternal struggle with Him. Once you align yourself with Jesus you now have an enemy that hates you too. He wants to see you fail and he makes it his mission to bring you down at every turn. The good news is that Jesus has already won that battle. Don’t believe me? Read John 16:33. So, keep fighting!
When you have finished the race you can take a deep breath and echo the sentiments of Paul
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7
Paul utters these words at the end of his life knowing that he never gave up. He was able to do so because he knew that God was always with him giving him exactly what he needed during the many struggles he experienced.
“The Lord stood at my side. He gave me the strength to preach the whole message. Then all the Gentiles heard it. I was saved from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will save me from every evil attack. He will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Give him glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
2 Timothy 4:17-18
So, when you are tempted to give up or to blame others for your struggles let me, or let Paul, encourage you to keep fighting! If you do, you will be rewarded for your faithfulness both in this life and in the life to come.
“Blessed is the person who keeps on going when times are hard. After they have come through hard times, this person will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. The Lord has promised it to those who love him.”