1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Peter 4:12-13 – Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
Hebrews 12:1-3 - …And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Philippians 3:14-15 – Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The first round of the NHL playoffs is behind us and the second round is underway. There are 8 teams still hopeful to win the Stanley Cup – focused on winning the prize. Every team has lost at least one game this postseason – and the eventual Stanley Cup winner will likely face many more setbacks and challenges. The setbacks and adversity are a normal part of the playoffs, and a successful team will learn from their mistakes, put them behind them, and press forward.
While hockey players are pouring so much effort to win the Stanley Cup – Christians everywhere should be pouring even more effort into seeking Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:24-25, 1 Timothy 6:12). Just as every team will face adversity in the playoffs so each Christian will face adversity in their pursuit of Jesus (1 Peter 4:12-13). Any Christian can probably think of where they've faced adversity and trials in their faith; as Christians we can endure, even rejoice in these because God has told us that He will use these to grow us and draw us closer to Him. (James 1:2-4, Hebrews 12:11)
We have an incredible example of perseverance in Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews tells us to ‘consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’. After being betrayed by one of His disciples, then being abandoned by the other 11, Jesus then was mocked, beaten, and flogged before enduring the cross. When we have a hard time with our trials, we can remember what Jesus went through – especially considering He did it so we could pursue a relationship with Him, spend eternity with Him, and grow towards perfection.
The apostle Paul recognized that he was not perfect and was not yet in heaven with Jesus – but this was his desire, his prize. He did not let his setbacks or adversity stop him from pursuing it. Philippians 3:14-15 - Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
If a hockey team can learn from mistakes and grow through adversity because they want to earn a prize that will fade away in time, Christians should even more so learn through our mistakes and grow through adversity as we keep our eyes on a prize that will never fade – the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What setbacks or adversity have you faced in your faith?
What have you learned from these setbacks and adversity? How have these lessons helped you grow?
For additional reading see 2 Timothy 4:7-8, James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-6
Posted on Tue, May 6, 2014
by Todd Lohstreter