Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I won't back down

A few years ago, Shine Roche McGowan lawyers had a tv ad of a bulldog who was shown in a tug of war with a red rag. The bulldog won. The message of the ad was that Shine lawyers hang on longer and they fight harder than other lawyers. They don't give up.

Like that ad, todays blog is on personal tenacity and determination in our walk with God, and the journey God has mapped out for us. It's a longer blog, but hopefully worth the extra read.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome."

Joshua 1:6 says, "Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. "

God has a plan for each and everyone of us and there is a 'land' for us to inherit... but sometimes we need every ounce of courage and strength to get there.

Psychologists say that, in life, there are 2 key motivators for anyone to do something - the reason we do anything comes down to 2 things: either 1. We are motivated to move toward gain; or 2. We are motivated to prevent pain.

Most of what we do, we are told, is in the realm of preventing pain... If we don’t do them: there are consequences and pain associated with that - eg not turning up for work causes a world of pain - so we're motivated to turn up!

However, some of the things we do are because we want to move towards gain. For example, we read books that teach us things, we eat responsibly to lose a few kgs, we decorate houses to make them look nicer, we practice an instrument - all moving towards gain.

In moving towards gain, the cliche is true - no pain, no gain.

To make gains towards the plans and purposes that God has for our lives, to inherit our 'land', there are often seasons of pain necessary to see the gains come to fruition. Without working through some pain, we cannot make any gains.

Sadly, we can try to cut-off God's process of advancement to prevent the pain we start to feel. We start taking steps to immediately remove the pain, instead of pushing forward to what God has for us.

Personal tenacity and determination is about pressing on, it's about pushing past the pain towards the 'prize', rather than stopping when the going gets tough. And let’s face it - some days the going gets really really tough.

The bottom line is this - behind every fruitful life is a single focus...day after day after day after day.. that focus is on the 'prize'

Philippians 3:13 and 14 "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

In an American university football game was a teenager called John Martinelli (true story). He was tall, thin, gawky and wore glasses under his helmet. The opposing centre (Ozzie) was 6 ft tall, strong, and very muscley.

The game strategy of this opposing team was to take out John Martinelli. They wanted to hurt him so badly that he would be too scared to get back into the play cause he was hurting so much. They had been working on this strategy for weeks.

The game came around and on the very first play of the game… Boom! Ozzie hit John Martinelli so hard that he cracked his face helmet! John Martinelli had blood all over his face, his mask was broken.. The opposing team were applauding themselves, and high-fives everwhere.. They’d taken him out in the first play!

John Martinelli left the field, .. but then grabbed a new helmet and lined up again.

The opposing team couldn’t believe it. They were incensed.

So they jeered Ozzie up, and in the next play.. Booom.. they got him again … and again.. and again!

That entire game, they beat and battered bruised John Martinelli so hard that they broke his helmet 3 times. He was the object of their attacks the entire game.. and yet he never missed a play. Not one play in the game did he even back off.

He would line up and fire every play. He would not give up

John Martinelli received national recognition for his football. The secret of his success is that would keep lining up and he would not back down.

The secret was his tenacity.

When I hear this story – I think of Paul. He was shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned.. and yet he would not back down. He would not stop until he had ‘run the race’.

And I think Jesus. Even though he was battered and bruised and whipped and scourged.. and knew he was going to be crucified in the most torturous of deaths.. he would not back down. He did not give up. He would not give anything less than his all for the cause.

Be strong, and of good courage - because God has a plan! There is a land waiting to be inherited.. but it requires your unswerving focus and your stubborn determination.

I recently watched 'Barnyard' and they sing a Johnny Cash song that sums it up perfectly:

Well I won't back down, no I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground and I won't back down

Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground and I won't back down
No I won't back down.

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