Posted by: glorifyhim1 | August 2, 2010

The Test

This past weekend my daughter literally agonized over a calculus final exam she faces this week. Although she has worked diligently all summer, this class has continued to be challenging and difficult for her. Still she has persisted, sought help from others, and studied harder than I think I have ever seen her study before. I admire that kind of persistence. While some gifted people may enjoy great success with minimal work, far more of us find that most of our accomplishments demand hard work and persistence.

But why, I wonder, do we sometimes persist at something with dogged determination, while at other times, we give up so easily? Why didn’t my daughter just drop that calculus class when she could still get out, and pursue something easier? Why did she continue to stay up late, get up early, and work so hard? Simply put, she needs this calculus class! She needs this class in order to move on to the next step. Her hopes of perhaps one day transferring into a computer engineering program demands that she not only pass calculus, but that she have a good understanding of the material. As a result, she has persisted.

The Christian life requires a good bit of persistence as well. Life is not easy for anyone and the Christian is no exception. Jesus Himself tells us that we will have trouble in this world (see John 16:33). But what makes one person face trial after trial and still persevere in her walk with Christ, while another believer gives up at the first hint of difficulty? Why does one believer stay faithful and obedient, while another caves in to worldly pressure? I believe that persistence in any endeavor, the Christian life included, is the result of keeping our eyes on the prize. Just as my daughter is looking toward her ultimate goal, as Christ followers, we should keep our eyes focused on our reward as well. As Paul told the Philippians: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

What is the Christian’s prize? Is it the goal of getting to heaven? Is it the hope of rewards that we will receive there? While we can look forward to all those things, the Christian’s true reward is God Himself. As the Lord told Abraham: “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1b). In Psalm 16:5 David recognized God as his prize: “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup.” And each of us can claim God as our reward because of Jesus’ atoning work on the cross. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

When we keep our eyes on our true reward, things of the world have less appeal. We listen to Him and follow His teachings instead of other voices around us. We ask for forgiveness when we do wrong and seek His direction when we are confused. We are more concerned with our relationship with our Lord than with others might say or think about us. We keep on keeping on – we persist – because of Him. The believer who looks to God as His exceedingly great reward works for that day when He will hear his Master say: “Well done, good and faithful servant …. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (see Matthew 25:20-23).

My daughter has been faithful in her study and work and I hope that she will reap a reward for her labor. Believers in Christ can be assured that their reward is sure. As the  writer of Hebrews encourages us: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:22-23).

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Responses

  1. Mom,
    I can only say that I am the person I am today because of the Godly woman that you are! I couldn’t have asked for a better role model, mother, mentor and friend. Aren’t you glad that i’m finally applying myself? 🙂

    Love you mom!!


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