Obedience. Not just for a moment, but for all time. Be strong and courageous. Be full of faith. Be obedient.
I went to a ladies' Bible study last Wednesday. It was a quick survey of Joshua. It was an affirmation of other messages I have been coming across. I figure when I see something enough in articles, books, and sermons I happen to pick up, there must be something I need to take to heart: Not by might or power, but by My Spirit says the Lord. Obey with faith.
My friend Annie is teaching a Sunday school class on the Desert Abbas and
Ammas (Fathers and Mothers). The sayings from the 2nd and 3rd centuries are stingingly apropos. Obey. Every day. If you screw up, confess. Don't just lie there in self-pity. Try, again and again. Obey with faith that He is the Author and Perfector. He is the Consuming Fire, full of love and yet so much holier than our knowledge can comprehend.
I want to say, "Because I love you and I know the effects that will come from the cause you are about to implement." I opt for something more simple and direct.
Daily. Every. Day. Morning to Night. Consistency.
Have faith. Do not fear anything but God. We are His disciples if we love and obey. But the obedience isn't a set of rules we can check off of a list. He did away with that. The law was an abusive husband (see Romans). The law died on the Cross. Now we are married to Christ who calls us to greater things than the law. We must love our enemies. We must love our neighbors as ourselves, and every fellow human on our path is our neighbor. Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul. Be salt and light.
Not in our own strength. We persevere in faith and obedience by His Spirit who works in us moment by moment. His grace covers us; His grace enables us.
This is why perseverance produces character. It's not being perfect every day; it's pursuing Jesus every day. It takes humility to admit that you've failed. It takes more humility to believe in God's grace and try again. It is a love you can not earn and do not deserve, but His love is real and constant. Aren't we all glad that God has character? That He perseveres in His love for us?