During these 10 day I’m sending my son, Tyler, encouraging quotes and messages while he attends the JRob 10-day Intensive Wrestling Camp in Iowa. My goal is to inspire him, to give him something to hang on to when things get hellacious, when his asthma acts up, when his muscles are past burning and have started shaking, when all his strength and endurance are used up and he still has a ways to go.
As I write his messages, I realize I’m not just talking to him—I’m talking to me too.
Others in the series:
This quote can be summed up in one word:
When God gave me this word I had no idea how hard it was going to be to honor it.
To cling to it.
To follow it.
To remember it.
Nor did I realize how easy it would be to fail at it.
When I first received this word I was inspired. Excited. Ready to conquer my goals and dreams!
Little did I know how God would use this word as the flame to teach and guide me through this year
- Through the valleys and mountaintops.
- Through twists and turns of the switchbacks.
- Through the seasons of refinement and deep purpose.
Little did I know how often this word would come to the forefront and remind me to faithfully continue to exert continuous effort in the direction He is leading me.
In Success Is Not Final, and Failure Is Not Fatal I asked you:
- Have you caught your glimpse yet?
- What passion was born?
- Is it a flickering flame or an inferno?
- What are you going to do with it?
We know this is God leading us in our purpose. We know we need to GET AFTER IT! So we exert all our strength and intelligence—and come us short.
We miss one key factor in fulfilling that purpose:
regardless of what the Enemy tries to throw in our path.
When we come up against Goliath-sized obstacles, a formidable opponent or adversary; when barriers seem unyielding and things get harder than anticipated—we typically try to muscle our way through. We put our head down, double our efforts, girt our teeth, and forge forward with all the strength and wisdom of a bull going after a matador.
And after a few runs at it, we’re exhausted and give up.
When that doesn’t work, we try to use logic. To think our way out, around, under, or through the issue. We rack our brains trying to shake loose intelligent thoughts or to set them in motion. We research. Ask for advice. Seek out a mentor. But in the end, we’re befuddled and in the same place as we were before.
And we’re discouraged.
We question whether we heard God right. Whether we are on the right track.
Quitting seems like the
best wisest option.
We know we need to be smart and strong to do what God’s called us to do. But the problem is we tend to rely on our own strength and intelligence rather than His. And in our self-reliance, we miss the fact that intelligence and strength aren’t even the keys to open the door to the potential He’s put inside us.
What are they keys?
- Continuous effort
- Striving with His energy
- Active obedience.
We can sit and think all we want.
- Wrestlers can conjure all kinds of strategies and drills.
- They can create offensive and defensive tactics.
- They can study every technique and skill.
- They can choreograph the best wrestling matches in our mind—
- replaying what they should/shouldn’t do,
- how to counter an attack,
- how to escape,
- how to reverse,
- how to pin our opponent.
But they need to exert continuous effort to put those things into action if they’re going to win the match, dominate the tournament, and earn the prize.
We do too…if we’re going to fulfill God’s call on our lives.
As a writer, I can conceive all the books, blog posts, social media blurbs I want to write in my mind. They are powerful. Genius/wise (of course). Witty. Encouraging. Edifying. They help people grasp how God’s Word is Vibrantly Relevant to their daily lives and instill a deep hunger for His Word. They reverse the tide of Biblical illiteracy in our nation!
But all that thinking is meaningless if I don’t sit down, exert the continuous effort, and actually write the thing!
Likewise, we can have all the strength of Thor (before his beer belly) and make zero headway if we don’t put our strength into action.
And when we do, we would be wise to remember our strength has limits. As does the energy we exert to utilize our strength.
Friend, what God calls us to do is far beyond us. Beyond our limits and capabilities. Beyond anything we could have over hoped or dreamed up for ourselves.
The only way to answer His call is to be filled with His strength, endurance, and energy.
This is why we must feast on God’s Word daily and be refreshed by his Spirit every morning.
- So He can fill us with His Spirit, infusing us with His power
- So He can refresh our strength and energy
- So He can teach us how to wisely leverage our energy to get the most out of it
- So He can show us how to maintain our energy, keeping us from burning out long before achieving our goal
Strength and intelligence are not the keys to unlocking the potential God’s put inside us. However, THEY ARE vital support systems for
- Continuous effort
- Striving with His energy
- Active obedience.
And the glue that holds it all together?
Beloved, God can’t lead us if we don’t MOVE. We have to be active.
We can’t follow Him if we refuse to get up and out of our comfort zone.
We may not know everything about where we’re going or what He has for us to do.
But we know enough
to get up
and get moving!
When Proverbs was written, there were no LED flashlights to slice through the darkness. Illuminating several yards around them like the noonday sun.
No, these people had torches and oil lamps.
These light sources didn’t illuminate much of the path in front of them or fully chase away the shadows. But they did produce enough light for them to safely take their next few steps. They did keep them from tripping over an obstacle. They did prevent them from falling into a hole.
It’s the same for us when it comes to following where Jesus is leading us. Like those oils lamps,
- We can only see so far.
- We only know so much.
- We only have so much strength.
- We only have so much energy and endurance.
In short, we’re impaired by our limitations and human weaknesses.
But God is there to light our path, to show us which way to go. (Psalm 36:9; 119:105; John 8:12)
Beloved, God is Light! In Him there is no darkness at all! (1 John 1:5).
To Him night is as bright as day and darkness is the same as light. (Psalm 139:11-12)
Do you know what this means?
HE KNOWS OUR PATH!
He can see it in its entirety.
There are no surprises.
Even when the Enemy comes to distract us, to derail us, or to push us off a cliff—
- He knows.
- He sees.
- And He leads us well.
This is why He urges us to trust Him—with ALL OUR HEART! To believe HIM with everything we have and everything we are. To surrender to His guidance.
Our intelligence and strength are not enough. We are limited.
But He is limitless.
When Jesus said follow me, His new disciples got up and followed Him. The moved. The actively obeyed His call.
We must do the same. Jesus is looking for active obedience, not just lip service.
He doesn’t need fans, He wants warriors who will give continuous effort.
- Men and women who will push past the pain. Past the exhaustion. Past the bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes. Past all the distractions and desire to quit and finish strong.
- Men and women who consider it pure joy, whenever they face trials of any kind, because they know that the testing of their faith produces perseverance. And when perseverance finishes its work, they will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
- Men and women who will strive with His energy to GET IT DONE!
We need to employ purposeful continuous effort to unlock the potential He’s placed inside us. To fulfill the purpose He’s given us.
No one is going to hand it to us.
No one is going to make our God-given dreams our reality.
It’s on us to actually do the will of the Father.
To run the race.
To follow where He leads.
Do you know the best part?
The more we surrender. The more we follow Him, our torch burns brighter and brighter, drawing others to us and to Him! Then they can use our torch to ignite their own. Beloved, THAT’S IT! THAT’S OUR GREATEST POTENTIAL! Introducing those in our sphere of influence to Jesus Christ and encouraging those who are already following Him.
So GET AFTER IT!
- Suit up.
- Hit our knees.
- Pray with earnest.
- Stand up.
- And get moving.
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