Anyone can choose a course, but not everyone can finish a course. Be steadfast. Follow your course with perseverance. No detours. No pit-stops. No slowing down. Being steadfast is moving forward at a constant speed. Are you being steadfast in your walk with God?
1 Corinthians 15:58, New King James Version
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Being unmovable is easy when everything is easy. But, how can you remain steadfast when life is difficult? Ask for help…through prayer. But, be specific. There is nothing coming against you that the Lord has not already overcome. He is ready to give you his strength. We may be very movable at times. But the Lord is never daunted.
Jesus overcame seven major obstacles to his mission and so can we. Tragedy, failure, success, distraction, weariness, offense and fear are enemies we’ll all face. In this week’s bible study, we’ll cover the first three:
Obstacle Number 1: Tragedy
Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, was murdered. He was beheaded for speaking the truth to immoral leaders of his day—King Herod and his wife Herodias (Matthew 14:1-25). Although Jesus was upset when he heard the news, he didn’t even allow grief to stop his ministry. He handled sorrow by spending time with God in prayer. Jesus frequently spent time alone to pray.
Matthew 14:13-14, The Living Bible
“As soon as Jesus heard the news, he went off by himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds saw where he was headed and followed by land from many villages. So when Jesus came out of the wilderness, a vast crowd was waiting for him, and he pitied them and healed their sick.”
Obstacle Number 2: Failure
Imagine the reception a famous person, like the president of the United States, receives when he returns to his hometown. Streets, buildings and even airports are named after them–not so with Jesus. Although the fame of him had spread abroad to the likes of King Herod (Matthew 14:1), Jesus was rejected in his hometown. He could only do a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:54-58, New Living Translation
“He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son,and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.”
Yet, Jesus didn’t allow disappointing results to stop him. He didn’t doubt God’s call on his life. Jesus overcame failure by moving on to his next assignment. He left Nazareth to reach people in the land of Gennesaret. The people there welcomed Jesus and this time he experienced tremendous results.
Mark 6:53-56, The Living Bible
“When they arrived at Gennesaret on the other side of the lake, they moored the boat and climbed out. The people standing around there recognized him at once, and ran throughout the whole area to spread the news of his arrival, and began carrying sick folks to him on mats and stretchers.Wherever he went—in villages and cities, and out on the farms—they laid the sick in the market plazas and streets, and begged him to let them at least touch the fringes of his clothes; and as many as touched him were healed.”
Obstacle Number 3: Success
We don’t usually think about success being an obstacle. But it can be, if your success leads to arrogance or complacency. Just ask King David. His biggest downfall was caving in to his flesh (he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then committed murder to cover it up!) right on the heels of great success (2 Samuel 10:17- 2 Samuel 11:25).
Jesus did many miracles, which led to thousands of people following him to hear his every word. But, Jesus didn’t bask in his successes—healing the man who had been blind since birth (John 9:1-9), raising people from the dead (John 12:8-10), even feeding thousands of hungry followers miraculously (Luke 9:12-17). If anyone had a right to be proud of his work, Jesus did.
Jesus didn’t allow success to take him off course.
John 6:14-16, King James Version
“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”
Jesus gave all the glory to God the Father.
Mark 10:17-18, The Living Bible
“As he was starting out on a trip, a man came running to him and knelt down and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get to heaven?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good!”
Jesus stayed focused on doing His Father’s will.
John 9:4, The Living Bible
“All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, for there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.”
In next week’s bible study (Be Steadfast Part 2) we’ll cover the last four obstacles to your mission–distraction, weariness, offense and fear.