Spotlight 10/2016: Do not give up!
Keep going, do not capitulate. And what if carrying on and making progress is totally out of the question once again? District Apostle Wolfgang Nadolny (Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany) reminds us of the potential we have.
If we were to keep a diary and record our experiences on the victories we have made with Christ every day, it would likely make for very interesting and edifying reading every now and then.
No heroic feats required
Our lives can be compared to such a book. Every day leaves its own very definite impressions. Impressions that are shaped by thoughts and feelings, by our actions, and our lives with God. These things are usually nothing spectacular. Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber once said something to the effect of: there are very few—if any—opportunities in a person’s life for heroic feats. But one small deed for God and our neighbour every day, that should be possible.
In a song, the author found the following words to express this *):
Hate sin and stay away from evil every day anew;
Avoid temptation and suffer patiently every day anew;
Grasp grace, and grow and ripen every day anew;
Prostrate yourself in humbleness and rise to lofty heights every day anew;
Pray and struggle, and overcome ourselves every day anew;
Exercise compassion, and hope and love every day anew;
Trust the Lord and see His help every day anew;
Die daily and rise again, and follow in the footsteps of Jesus as He takes us
higher and higher—that is what I call “our daily race”.
Battling against ourselves, not our neighbour
Nowhere in the gospel does it say that our way to the kingdom of God is a walk in the park. In fact, in many parts of the gospel we read about the battle against evil, sin, and our own weaknesses. The spiritual battle is not a battle against other people. Very often we have to battle against ourselves.
Apostle Paul encouraged his friend and brother Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6: 12). And at the end of his life he was able to say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4: 7).
In 1 John it says: “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (chapter 5, verse 4). So a strong faith is required to triumph over evil and overcome. With this in mind, let us struggle every day to win a small victory. Even if we often give in to sin and succumb to the Devil, let us never give up. Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father. He gives us His body and blood in Holy Communion to strengthen us. There is no reason to give up.
Victory through Christian conduct
Each of the seven letters to the churches in Asia ends with a promise: “To him who overcomes …” These letters are full of divine wisdom. First the good things are highlighted about each of the churches. Each church is praised for its good deeds and character. But the letters also clearly identify challenges and give directions on what has to be done better. Warnings are given, connected with exhortations that have to be followed at all costs. After all, nothing less than eternal life is at stake here! The letters end with the great promises of God, describing what those who overcome will receive. The following words summarize everything: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21: 7). What a victory with Christ!
*) from the Berlin choir folder. “Täglich von neuem die Sünde hassen” (Hating sin daily anew), text by Lothar Friedrich
Photo: Oliver Rütten