When what we’re pursuing is worth the effort, how do we persevere until the end? The lessons I’ve learned. God actually answered one of my prayers.
“Pay attention to the doors He opens. What is it that catches your attention?”
God teaching me to love sacrificially, dying to self if I must. Loving unconditionally, yes unrequited love. He whispers in to my ear; “follow me”. To be patient in silence, and to partner with Him in this journey and walk humbly with Him. To learn from His own personal story of love.
Jesus said, “There is no greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
You see, God RELENTLESSLY pursues us. He wants us to be His friend, to be in a relationship with us. God is RELENTLESSLY seeking after you as David experience it in Psalm 139 “Where I can I go from your presence? If I go up you are there, if I go down you are there – you are everywhere” and yet while He pursues us, His love is not self seeking and always thinks for our best. His is a total gentleman and never forces Himself on anyone.
His call went even deeper: Could I be secure in God’s love without public recognition? Could I let God be in charge of my reputation? Was God’s approval enough for me? After this early exercise in dying to self, I eventually found myself relying on God more in small things. I was finding life, the companionship, and partnership with God that I longed for.
To die to self is to set aside what I want in this moment and focus instead on loving God with everything I have and valuing others as highly as I value myself. (Matthew 22:37-39). This moves me away from self-centeredness and closer to becoming openhearted followers of Christ who care deeply for others. It’s much easier to pay attention to the concerns, interests and needs of people (Philippians 2:3-4) when my own interests no longer consume me.
The Parable of the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29) and The Parable of the Hidden Treasure. They are connected.
Jesus said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
The story is about the power of God’s Word to work on the heart and gives it life. But parable also has a personal application to me Galatians 6 verse 9. This verse encourages me “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul, perhaps better than anyone else, knew how wearying the spiritual battle can be. Wars are exhausting — especially long ones. That’s why you are often tired. Many soldiers, who experience the fierceness of combat, want to get out of it. That’s why you’re tempted to escape. That’s why you’re tempted to give up, don’t give up. No, rather “take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7). Don’t give up when the field the Lord has assigned you to is hard and the harvest does not look promising (Ps 119:1 MSG)
“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints” (Revelation 14:12). Just because you don’t see God working does not mean He isn’t. Jesus said, “My Father is always working” (John 5:17). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44). One of Jesus’s most powerful parables is also one of his shortest. Fifteen minutes before this man’s discovery in the field, the thought of selling all that he owned to buy it wouldn’t have crossed his mind. Even if it had, it would have seemed ludicrous. But fifteen minutes after finding the treasure, he was off to do it with joy. What made the difference? The treasure. This man suddenly found something that transformed his whole outlook on life. The treasure restructured his values and priorities. It altered his goals. The treasure revolutionized the man.
The man realized the worth of that which he will gain far exceeds the value which we can lose, that he can face it with joy and find the courage to keep seeking; even in those places where hope doesn’t seem to exist. He found it a blessed place where God has yet to explain, or He may never explain because God is already there.
Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. Ps 119: 18 MSG