Continuing the teachings on the Book of Proverbs: Seeing From God’s Side.
This is a short summary on the sixth and final sermon, titled “He Falls Seven Times, Stands Up Eight: Perseverance.”
Summaries for part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, and part five here.
Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”
There’s a moment when you want to quit everything. I don’t mean you physically remove yourself from school, work, family, or church, but you can mentally check out. It’s possible to quit without quitting.
Usually the four reasons we mentally quit are:
1) Blaming others: “If it weren’t for these people and this place, then …”
2) Burn-out: “I’m just exhausted, they got me doing too much.”
3) Guilt: “I’m not good enough, I keep failing, I messed it up.”
4) Discouragement: “Everyone hates me. No one is encouraging.”
It’s possible that all these things are true: it’s everyone else’s fault, we’re burned out, we’re guilty of things we shouldn’t be doing, and we’re discouraged. It would make sense to quit.
So how do we keep going? How do we stand up on the eighth time after falling down seven?
Once the emotional high of something is over, you need a reason bigger than your emotions to persevere.
You need a reason bigger than your outcomes, performance, situation, and environment.
Or else you will shrink yourself into a neurotic inward person with a tiny little vision.
We need an Igniter, a Sustainer, a Goal beyond our goal.
Most of us live on Systems of Thinking. Do A to get to B to get to C.
But life hardly ever works out this way. When we do A, sometimes we get F or Q or 47.
If your reason for perseverance is pursuing A to B to C, you’ll run out of gas quickly.
Christianity is unique in that it’s not built on a System or Program or Rules.
It is built on a historical person and a historical event.
1) We have a Redeemer who rescues us from our sinful self-centeredness so we would no longer live for ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15). To live for our own glory is too small anyway, and will never be a reason big enough to persevere. God loves us out of ourselves towards His Glory, the very reason we were created: and that’s big enough.
2) Our faith is based on a Resurrection over death, sin, and Satan. Not only is the Resurrection the final ending of our stories, but that power is made available to us in our time of need so we can get to that glorious ending (Hebrews 4:16, Romans 8:11).
He is our Igniter, our Sustainer, and our Goal beyond our goal.
We were redeemed from ourselves to do what we were created to do: lift up the name of God so that God would show off His power through us. So when we want to quit on work, school, family, and church — we come to God in weakness, and God will flex His strength in us, giving us power for one more step.
The message we preach to ourselves when we want to quit is:
I can’t do this, Lord. I have nothing left. Only you can do it.
All we need is to need Him.
For the whole sermon, click here.