We are people of destiny. Underneath the mundane of our everyday lives, a heavenly purpose is being worked out. There is a divine reason that we are here at this time. As Mordecai said to Queen Esther at a crucial moment in Israel's history, "Who knows but you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14).
Seeing the fulfillment of our destiny, however, will require something on our end. In this essay, I present 3 determinations that have characterized the men and women who have been used of God to change the course of history. These 3 determinations must be incorporated into our lives if we are to see God's purposes fulfilled through us to this generation. We must not give up! We must not give in! We must not give out!
DON'T GIVE UP!
Don't give up means that we will not surrender our God-given dreams, desires and aspirations to lack, failure, fear, criticism or intimidation. It means that we will not quit. We will not surrender. We will not give up!
Consider the string of defeats suffered by one of the greatest individuals of all times, yet he refused to give up. He persevered and became one of the giants of human history.
In 1832 he lost his job.
In 1832 he ran for the state legislature and lost.
In 1833 he failed in a business venture.
In 1835 his fiancÚ died.
In 1836 he suffered a nervous breakdown.
In 1838 he ran for speaker of the state legislature and lost.
In 1843 he ran for Congress and lost.
In 1849 he applied for the post of land officer but was rejected.
In 1854 he ran for the Senate and lost.
In 1856 he ran for vice-president and lost.
HOWEVER, IN 1860 ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. HE STOOD HIS GROUND AND FULFILLED HIS GOD-ORDAINED DESTINY. HE REFUSED TO GIVE UP!
DON'T GIVE IN!
Don't give in means that we will not compromise integrity and truth. We will not cave in to the superficial religiosity that masquerades as true Christianity. We will not yield to the pressure to conform to the religious status quo. We will be real! We will maintain our integrity and be the people God has called us to be. We will not give in! Those used by God to shape history have been those who refused to give in. Take Martin Luther as an example.
Luther was ordered by his superiors in the medieval church to stop preaching that a person could be saved apart from the church through personal faith in Jesus Christ. Luther, however, believed he had discovered truth and he refused to give in. He was then ordered to appear before a tribunal of both religious and civil authorities. If found guilty of heresy, he would most likely be put to death. There was tremendous pressure to give in.
Luther appeared before this tribunal made up of cardinals, bishops, princes and the emperor himself. His tracts, books and sermons were spread on a table before him and he was asked if these were his writings. Luther looked at them and answered in the affirmative. He was then ordered to recant--to publicly confess that what he had preached and written was error. Luther replied that he was willing to recant if he could be convinced by the Scripture and reasonable argument that he was in error. "Otherwise," he said, "I will not recant."
Luther was brought before the tribunal several times in this manner and put under tremendous pressure to give in. But he adamantly refused. As the final hearing wound to a close, Luther repeated his stand that he was willing to recant if he could be shown from Scripture and by reasonable argument that he was in error. But if not, he would not recant. "My conscience will not allow me to do otherwise," he said. "And it is not wise to do or say anything that is contrary to ones conscience." He ended his final statement with the words, "I can do no other. Here I stand, so help me God." He refused to give in.
Luther was released to return to his home in Wittenberg while the tribunal decided his fate. After brief deliberations they issued a statement declaring Luther to be a heretic and a fugitive from the law. Anyone knowing of his whereabouts was to report such information to the proper authorities so that Luther could be arrested and brought to justice. His books and sermons were ordered to be confiscated and burned.
Luther was never arrested because his refusal to compromise truth produced such a groundswell of support among the masses that neither pope nor emperor would dare attempt an arrest. Luther's ideas of justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers and freedom of conscience spread throughout Europe and became fundamental principles in the founding of America. You and I are enjoying freedoms and blessings because Luther (and many others) refused to give in. MY FRIEND, DON'T COMPROMISE WHO YOU ARE AND THE MESSAGE GOD HAS GIVEN YOU. DON'T GIVE IN!
DON'T GIVE OUT!
Don't give out means that we will that we will not exhaust ourselves doing the work of the Lord. It means that we will pace ourselves so that we can have a long and fruitful life in these mortal bodies. In Mark 6:31 Jesus told his disciples, after they had returned from a grueling preaching tour, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while (KJV). I once heard a message taken from this verse entitled "Come Apart or Come Apart." Indeed, countless men and women of God have "come apart" emotionally and physically because they did not heed the exhortation to Come apart and rest awhile.
Ron MacIntosh, former chaplain at Oral Roberts University, says that the number one killer of revival is "lack of rest." History seems to bear this out. Two years after launching into one of the most remarkable miracle ministries seen in any generation, William Branham was forced to withdraw from ministry because of nervous exhaustion. He did not look after himself and he gave out. Jack Coe, who regularly preached to crowds numbering in the thousands during the 1950s, died at age 38 because he did not look after his health. He, too, gave out. Such examples are endless.
In contrast, Sue and I have lived next door to one of the most remarkable women of the past 100 years, Freda Lindsay, co-founder and president emeritus of Christ For the Nations in Dallas, TX. She is now 91 and is still going strong. Until recently, she still drove her own car and she continues to work at her office every day at the Christ For the Nations headquarters buildings. When she sits down at her desk, things start hopping.
One thing I have observed is that she paces herself. She learned to do this at an early age when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis in both lungs and given only 18 months to live. This was devastating news for a recently married 18 year old. Her parents and husband, Gordon, prayed with her and she was miraculously healed. She noticed, however, that the symptoms would return when she over-worked and became exhausted. She, therefore, began pacing herself. Ever since I have known her, she has taken a siesta in the afternoon--even when the work is piled high on her desk. There is no question that one reason she is still going strong at age 91 is that she has paced herself. She has refused to give out, and what a life she has lived! MY FRIEND, DON'T BURN YOURSELF OUT TRYING TO DO THE LORD'S WORK. REMEMBER THAT HIS YOKE IS EASY AND HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT (MATT 11:30). DON'T GIVE OUT!
These three determinations are exhibited in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. He did not give up when faced with the horrors of death on a cross. He did not give in to the angry, intimidating threats of the Pharisees nor to the selfish suggestions of his own disciples. He did not give out but went on to complete our salvation. He did not give up! He did not give in! He did not give out! WILL WE FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE!