Can You Stay The Course?
Written by Kris Vos
April 26, 2023
Written by Kris Vos
April 26, 2023
I am in the routine of doing some “core” exercises each morning before my devotional time. I begin with planking for 2 minutes (I watch the YouVersion devotional video as I plank to occupy my brain). Each time I get to about the minute and thirty second mark the self-talk begins. “Kris, nobody says you must do this. Just put your knee down and stop. This is uncomfortable, why are you doing this?” And so it goes, for the final thirty seconds. Then the self-talk starts over again with my other exercises.
The work of renewal can bring the same kind of self-talk. Renewal is uncomfortable and laborious. Renewal requires a long obedience in the same direction. Like my morning exercises, we may not see any visible results. I don’t have six-pack abs and I’ve been at it for a year and a half. However, though I don’t think about it often, I have had virtually zero back pain since I started. Much of the blessing of obedience and faithfulness flies under the radar.
Staying the course does make a difference. We may not see the kind of visible results we would like to see, but obedience is never unnoticed in the Kingdom of God.
Embed God’s Word in your heart. Our response to negative self-talk needs to be like Christ’s response to Satan’s temptations: Scripture. Prioritize meditation, memorization, and exposure to God’s Word.
Find a peer group, cohort or coach that will be God’s voice of encouragement for you. It was probably twelve years ago now; I was meeting with my peer group. I was doing my usual whining about ministry and expressing uncertainty about my leadership. I can still see Chris Mitchell look me dead in the eyes and say, with all the certainty in the world, “Kris, you are a better leader than you think you are.” That simple comment has defeated a lot of negative self-talk in my life ever since!
You are not where you are by accident. God put you there. God called you there. Remember how He called you. Remember the pieces He put in place to bring you there. You have no right to question God’s call. You have a responsibility to be faithful to that call. Put every challenge and discouragement you face in the light of that call.
Self-pity is a sin. It is narcissistic. Call it what it is. I once sat down and wrote myself a letter. I entitled it “Notes on Self-Pity”. At the risk of crossing over into self-promotion, let me quote myself from that letter: “Don’t you dare waste one minute feeling sorry for yourself! You have been so blessed by God in your short life you have no reason to waste any time feeling sorry for yourself.” I pull it out of my files and read it whenever I start feeling sorry for myself. If you’d like to read the whole thing, I’ll gladly share it with you. Better yet, write your own.
Tommy Kiedis tells the story of Winston Churchill learning to paint. Once he learned the joy, peace and rest painting brought him, he did it regularly. Amid the intense pressure of his life, Churchill took time to paint. My “paintbrush” is a flinging a piece of plastic on the disc golf course. What’s yours?
Stay the course. The journey of renewal is a long and arduous one. The One who has called you will also equip you. Let nothing hinder you or pull you from the narrow path of faithfulness to your call and obedience to the One who has called you. Never underestimate the glory God receives from a life lived in faithfulness to Him.
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