Spotlight 04/2016: Perseverance pays off
Sometimes the response is amazing when God calls, other times His call goes almost unheard. Victory with Christ? District Apostle Leonard R. Kolb (USA) shows why numbers do not count.
Knowing that we can have victory with Christ is a wonderful aspect of the bride of Christ. Victory with Christ evokes confidence in Him and creates courage within us to answer God’s call to do His will.
A double relationship
Our relationship with Christ is both communal—because the Church works together to make up the body of Christ—and personal. Let us focus on one aspect of the 2016 theme with regards to our personal relationship with God.
As expounded upon in the New Year service, God equips us with four attributes to help us have victories with Christ: love, faith, perseverance, and unity. We need to have personal perseverance in order to be victorious with Christ even if all or many around us move in different directions, but also if we are the only one.
Perseverance with different outcomes
We can find two examples of perseverance with very different outcomes in the lives of Joshua and Elijah.
In the 24th chapter of Joshua, we read how Joshua instructed the people to serve the Lord and to leave behind any other gods their ancestors served. The people responded positively, saying they would not forsake the Lord. Joshua continued to speak to them, warning them that God would punish them if they turned away from Him. He called them to be witnesses of their declaration to serve the Lord. And again, the people promised to serve and obey the Lord (Joshua 24).
Don’t give up, even if outnumbered
How wonderful it would be if every time we faced a challenge and asked people to follow God’s call they would be unanimous in their response. Of course, it does not always work out like that, as we can see with Elijah.
In 1 Kings 18: 21–22, we can read: “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, ‘I alone am left a prophet of the Lord.’”
These kinds of moments can be discouraging, but please take heart. The Lord is with us when we serve in His name and desire to do His will, as He was with both Joshua and Elijah. The amount of followers did not alter God’s plan. What mattered was the faith and perseverance of the one.
Assuming a leadership role
Let us all be leaders in this sense, persevering to fulfil God’s plan and sharing the gospel with all. And as long as we live in Christ, we can be assured of victories with Him, for: “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling” (Psalm 91: 7–10).
Photo: Oliver Rütten