1. Never Give Up
This week I was reading a book about Longevity in Leadership and it referenced the famous speech that Winston Churchill gave part way through World War II at the University he had previously attended, Harrow:
‘We must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough… never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.’
By definition, being unstoppable, means that we keep going. We have a clarity about our purpose and our convictions, and we keep pushing to see them worked out. But how do we pull that off?
2. Never Give Up Joy
A few weeks ago, I had my first experience of taking a live chicken, and processing it ‘from paddock to plate’. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea! Certainly there were parts of the process that were, let’s say, a bit 'gritty'. But you know, it was an enjoyable experience because I had someone showing me how to do it and they were good company through the process.
It’s interesting how there’s a significant difference between doing something hard or difficult, while being unwilling, compared with doing something hard or difficult, with joy and purpose. Gritting our teeth and pushing through to get the job done will get us so far, but walking with joy will keep us going right to the very end. We are made to thrive and not just survive. How do we find joy in the face of the difficult moments of life?
3. Never Give Up Joy At Being Loved
For me there’s been a few rough days in the last few months. I’ve noticed that when I have a really hard day, one thing that I crave is to be home and surrounded by my little family - people who love me unconditionally. That’s pretty natural desire I reckon.
The challenge is that sometimes even the people we feel most loved by, let us down. In fact, even for the Christian who knows that God loves them, they can still sometimes pass through seasons where their circumstances make them question whether God really does love them? If he does love them, then why has He allowed life to be do difficult?
4. Never Give Up Joy At Being Loved Enough For Discipline
In Hebrews 12 the writer gently chides his audience for forgetting the way that God shows his love:
'Have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.'
It is mind blowing to think that God calls us his children. The God of the universe, the divine one, the one above all others - he calls us ‘son’. When we go through hard times then, we are to take it as further evidence that God loves us as his children and is therefore disciplining us. Hardship then, rather than causing us to question God’s love for us, it ought to strengthen our conviction that he does indeed love us and is working for our God. If we need a little bit more evidence, well, God has provided it.
5. Never Give Up Joy At Being Loved Enough For The Shed Blood of Christ
A little bit later in the his letter, the author of Hebrews reminds us that we have not come to a smoking mountain that speaks of judgment (like Mount Sinai in the Old Testament), no we have come to the welcome presence of God, ‘to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel’ (Hebrews 12:24). Whereas the blood of Abel cried out for justice against his brother who had murdered him (Genesis 4), the blood of Christ Jesus speaks of the willing sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, as our great High priest, bringing us back to the presence of God. When we go through hard times, we are not being punished for sin - Jesus blood has already paid for that - instead we are being disciplined for our good, to make us like Jesus. So what do we need to pursue through the hard times?
6. Never Give Up Joy At Listening To The One Who Loves Us
‘See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks’ (Hebrews 12:25a)
If we listen to the one who loves us as he speaks, then we will love others, pouring our lives out for others, like God has done for us (Hebrews 13:1-3, 16). We will follow his instructions with regards to our sexual conduct - keeping the marriage bed pure and not engaging in sexual activity outside of covenant heterosexual marriage relationship (Hebrews 13:4). We will love the God who is with us always, rather than loving money and trusting in it (Hebrews 13:5). We will be submissive to the leaders that God places in our lives (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24). We will continue to hold to God’s truth, regardless of the opposition (Hebrews 13:9). We will praise our God (Hebrews 13:15) and we will pray (Hebrews 13:18-19). Imagine a community unstoppable in those things. That would be a demonstration of the radical love of God in this world (cf. Romans 5:8). Let’s keep going, as we keep our eyes fixed, on the one who loves.
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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