We shouldn’t be reading the world’s story for us, but God’s! All around us, the world is telling us what it means to be useful, purposeful. But today, I was reading in God’s word the message He wants me to believe – “up is down,” or as Jesus’ puts it, we must lose our life to find it. At the end of this life’s journey, we are going to face Christ. He will immediately know, if we’ve done what we were supposed to -lose our life to find it for eternity. It won’t matter at that moment how well-dressed you were, or how well you could fix yourself up, or the house you lived in, or the holidays you went on. It will be your every day, small moments, when you were alone, your thoughts, the sum of them, the sum of you as a person – did you live for Christ and His gain, or something less important? Were you robbed by the Devil, the ruler of this world’s ways to believe you could have it all, a good life here, as well as in the next?
I hope not! Because God doesn’t have favorites, and He doesn’t show favoritism. What matters is whether we have abided in His Son and the Words He taught. Was His character in you? Or were you a stranger, someone who didn’t want to partake in the sufferings of Christ, the persecution, the exclusion, the low-position, the dismissal of those looking for a reward in this life?
I wrote the chorus of Keep Believing at a time when I was disillusioned. I’ve spent years recording in my studio, and often many songs never see the light of day. I’ve been excluded as an artist, even by the body of Christ. I’ve been persecuted by believers, snubbed by those protecting their positions as singers and worship leaders for the Lord. I’ve been invisible. “Keep believing, keep believing in the Son of God.” It doesn’t matter what others think of you or their take on the gospel if it’s not rooted in truth. What matters is – are you abiding in Jesus? We must know Him personally, and we should be aware of what He’s calling us to do – our race.
Paul, the apostle, clearly knew his race. And he told others about it. Not is a boastful way, but in a protective way for the sheep. You see, our gifts and what Jesus is asking us to do, isn’t for ourselves. It is for the building up of the body and for it to come to the full measure of Christ. We have things that no one else can do, experiences, a relationship with Jesus that no one else can bring to the table. So, because of this truth, I’ve persevered, labored almost out of sight from others, to get the job done that Jesus has given me, to sing, and tell others about Him. I haven’t waited to get approval from others, or for the resources, or the abilities – I’ve always stepped out like the woman who gave her two pennies and put them in the offering box for God to use however He wanted. If I valued and assessed myself to the world’s standard, and sadly, so often to the “church’s” worship standards, I would have gone home, packed my bags and studio gear up, given away my guitar and left sulking. But that was my old life, and who knows to the extent of things God is doing with the little I have, and that brings me back to the song – Keep Believing. We all know what we are supposed to be doing, not looking by sight at our circumstances and the world’s story for us. But by faith we walk. And it’s lonely. There are only a few, Jesus said on His path; His flock is small, and not many are “sold out” for Christ. Are you sold out? What’s leading you? Is it your knowledge of the truth, or have you got side-swiped?
“Run your face, as He said. Do the work of an evangelist as He led,” (Verse – Keep Believing).
I wasn’t going to finish this song I had started one day in the studio while recording something else. But Jesus wouldn’t let it go. Before it was finished, He kept bringing the chorus, often, to my mind. I prayed, and He wanted me to work on it. I prayed, and the verse was written. I prayed, and the studio production was finished. But its release was stalled. And then, when released, it was met with opposition, and iTunes didn’t release it.
Constantly, every time I try and move in any direction regarding my music, bang – problems! I’ve come to expect them, but I’m never ready for them! It’s always a blow to the wind in my sails, and Jesus’ strength is knocked out of me, and I must hide myself in Him again and realize – don’t take it personally. It’s an attack on what I believe and an attack on Christ Jesus. It’s an attack on the message, the efforts to build up the body, speak truth and live the life of truth that Jesus led us to live – be the example, take the low-position, speak the truth, and not hold grudges!
“Keep Believing, keep believing in the Son of God.”
We can look at other people’s lives and think they are fantastic. Or we can be thankful that whatever is happening to them isn’t happening to us. But the test is what the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:9 – that the same kind of suffering is happening to all the believers worldwide.
Resist him, (the Devil) standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings (1 Peter 5:9).
That’s the hardest battle to win, the most challenging race to run – the race of faith because persecution and exclusions, and the desires for other things hit us when night after night, day after day, you are trying to live for Jesus, and it just gets harder and harder with more and more opposition and difficulties. We must keep our mind and heart on the prize. With no grumbling and complaining, grab this truth of 1 Peter 5:9 by the horns, and it’s an incredible release from what wants to drag us down to the pits of despair and never let you breathe. We fight the battle with faith, believing in the unfailing love of Jesus and the faithfulness of God that He will do, exactly, as He has said. We can put all our weight and soul on the truth of His Word, even our life, knowing that He will not fail to do as He has promised. Death’s door might be hovering over us, we might not have a cent to our name, and in deep despair. But if we put our faith in Jesus, He will see us through no matter, according to His Word and promises.
This world values amounts – amount of money, amount of time, number of sponsors, or likes, number of followers or influences, and number of friends and clients. I’m so glad Jesus didn’t grade or value our need in the same manner. For, He said, few find it, the narrow path.
So, what motivates you? – love, is it your motivator and the truth of God’s word? Do you long to be correct, activated by pleasing the King and helping just one person in the gospel of freedom. There is no other name under heaven and earth that anyone can call on to be saved. That name is Jesus Christ, but it brings judgment to many because they refuse to listen, accept and desire to be saved. They love darkness more than light, and I’m afraid we are seeing it more and more. People are less ashamed of evil. They are more out in the open about it, and they have little regard for one another. But today, I read, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (excessive pride in oneself). Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3). Let’s put that on a bumper sticker and drive across town and see what happens! Of course, I’m not going to do that because judgment immediately falls on me for shoving the truth in front of someone else without love.
It is through love and gentleness that we are to shine, by accepting that we will be hated and persecuted. But it’s okay, it’s what is to be expected, and it keeps us in check from stepping on the broad path, the path that doesn’t keep company with the One who humbled Himself, even to the point of death on a cross for our sake, to save us out from an eternity of utter darkness without Him.
“Keep Believing in the Son of God.”
Jesus said to Martha at the grave site of her brother, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). Jesus and Martha had a conversation in the garden, outside her home. He had told her that her brother would live and that He was the resurrection and the life. Jesus hadn’t come right away to heal Lazarus but allowed death to take its grip for greater understanding to be made known. And isn’t that God’s way with us! He allows suffering, hardships so that we see His glory and experience the true victory He wants us to have. So often, we can let the things of this world, the setbacks to stop us from reaching our full potential – and not run our race!
I want to encourage you today, don’t look at the standards this world gives you. Look to Jesus and know that His flock is small, and these times are evil where few are willing to lose their life to find it. Don’t measure yourself on others’ success but measure yourselves against the apostles and prophets of God and allow faithfulness to be your guide and measure of success. Because at the end of the day, it is what Jesus will measure our worth – were we faithful with what He had given us and what He wanted us to do? Our plans don’t amount to anything,
I’d rather do one thing of lasting value than nothing at all, having wasted this whole life trying to satisfy my own desires and cravings. “Run your race, as He said, do the work of an evangelist as He led.” This song has encouraged me over and over to do just that when I’ve become jaded by the world and its relentless attack on the gospel, and anything related. The gospel must be the most important thing to us and persevering in it. Jesus stated this in Matthew 24:13-14. And it must be. If this is what Jesus is concerned with, then it’s your race to run. And you can only do it by believing in the Son of God.
But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come, (Matthew 24:13-14).
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