What do these five things have in common? Good question. I never said my mind worked normally.
I can be a quitter. I don't like that about myself, but sometimes I am. Sometimes when it gets hard, I throw in the towel. I had a difficult freshman year in college sports, so instead of working hard, I quit. I was never really very good at basketball, so I quit. I've hit other bigger obstacles in life, and at first I want to fight, and then too often I just quit. Not proud of it.
Since then, I've been pondering what he said. When it comes to pressing against the evil of this world - Jesus doesn't give up. When it comes to renewing the face of the earth - Jesus doesn't give up. When it comes to fighting injustice - Jesus doesn't give up. When it comes to my failures, my sins, and my shortcomings - Jesus doesn't give up. When it comes to my family, my friends, and my community - Jesus doesn't give up. Jesus is no quitter.
I get knocked down/ but I get up again/ You're never gonna keep me down. [Tubthumping by Chumbawamba]So, the rest of the lyrics aren't that good, trust me. But this little ditty sticks in my head when the world or the power of the enemy come against me and my life, and I remember that Jesus is no quitter, and even when I get knocked down, in his power, I get up again. Some of you know that in my family, we've had a number of difficult medical issues that we've struggled to get answers to and help with. Seems like every time we take a step forward, it's another two steps back, but we get up again in the power of Jesus. Sometimes it feels like those scenes from the 80's when you're cheering and yelling for Rocky Balboa, "Get up! Get up! You can do it!" and the struggle seems so hard just to get your feet underneath you and push up again.
Those of us who believe in a God who is bigger, a God who challenges the darkness with consistent light face the future, and we face it with hope. We don't face it alone, either, we face it with the power of one who has known the deepest darkness of the grave and has overcome it with his powerful light.
Psalm 44:22 says it well:
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;Remember dead man walking? In a theological and even ontological sense, we are dead people walking. I have a friend who is scared of Zombies. It probably didn't help the other day when I told him that Zombies were biblical. They are. Really. Of course, like anything else, modern day media and comic books have Zombies all wrong. Here it is in Matthew 27:50-53:
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.The dead rise and walk as a testimony to the truth that Jesus is no quitter. He gets knocked down, and then gets up again. And again. And again. Followers of Jesus are truly dead people walking. We've looked death straight in eyes, faced it in the power of Jesus, and come back believing that there is a life beyond death. We're gluttons for the ongoing battle because we believe in a more powerful hope. Only unlike the walking dead, we are the dead arisen, living in light and bringing new life to the world around us (unlike Zombies in cultural iconography). We're the ultimate anti-Zombies because light and life, not death and darkness flow through our resurrected selves. Paul says it this way in Romans 6:4:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.It's true. We humans go through a lot in this life. Cancer. The death of children. War. Famine. Terrorism. Mental illness. Broken relationships. Abandonment. Fear. Ethnic cleansing. Abuse. Football. But we are not quitters, not so much because we are strong, but because our faith is built upon the solid rock of one who is no quitter, and who has the power to overcome. And "Our faltering in obedience" or anything else "is not a failure in faith." [Doug McClintic] He has the power to overcome all things in all times in all places for all people. Again Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (wow, the Zombie metaphors keep coming):
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.Thanks, Doug, for the message on Sunday. I was struck by the reminder, and yesterday morning when I turned on the radio to a Christian Radio station I never listen to that my son had tuned to, there was a song playing by Toby Mac (who I think was trying to redeem TubThumping in this song), and I knew once again that God was trying to make a point.
We lose our way,
We get back up again
It's never too late to get back up again,
One day you will shine again,
You may be knocked down,
But not out forever
-We Get Back Up, Toby Mac
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