Focus 40 Day 32: Extreme Living—Growing by Staying the Course
Prayer Focus: Pray to be a steward of your spiritual gifts – 1 Peter 4:10
Extreme Living—Growing by Staying the Course
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a very little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. —Hebrews 10:35–39 (NIV)
THE YEAR BETWEEN my sophomore and junior years of college, I dropped out of college for a year to pastor a country church in the back woods of Florida. About halfway through the year, I became homesick and discouraged. I wrote Dad and told him that I was ready to come home, and if he would just send me some gas money, I would be home soon. A few days later, I received his letter of reply and excitedly ripped open the envelope to get my gas money and head for home. There was no money, just this note: “Dear Sammy, Quitters never win, and winners never quit. Stick with it! Love, Daddy.” That letter turned my whole life around.
That little piece of wise advice set me on a path of determination to stay the course through many temptations to quit. Many times, after sidestepping such a temptation to quit, God opened doors of opportunity that I never dreamed possible and that I would have never seen if I had quit.
Paul told the Roman Christians, “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master” (Rom 12:11 MSG). So, we don’t give up, we persevere until we hear God’s final word on the issues we face. We can keep ourselves fueled and aflame by staying in God’s Word for guidance, praying through the Word to affirm the covenants we make with God about our lives. Then we celebrate in worship the victories that God and we win together through perseverance. In this way, our Lord is continually shaping us as people of God.
Daniel was the man God used over a period of some eighty years, through the dynasties of four kings, starting when he was approximately fourteen years old and continuing until his dying day. And there isn’t anything negative said about Daniel. In fact, the greatest verse about Daniel may be: “Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus” (Dan 1:21 NKJV). Daniel continued, he didn’t burn out or give up and quit, even when threatened or thrown into a den of lions. He stayed pure and faithful to God—no breaches of morals, ethics, or integrity. There’s an awful lot of dropping out going on today. And when we can say that a person continues, just as Daniel did, across a span of nearly ninety years of ministry, Daniel stands as a model of extreme living!
Father, empower me to never follow the path of shrinking back. Energize me, Lord, to always follow the path of persevering in your plans for me which keep me practicing Extreme Living and on the spiritual path to growth! Amen.
Dr. Sam Bruce
Pastor, MACU Professor, and Transformation Team Member