He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge.
His truth is your shield and armor.
Now that is cool! The Psalmist was giving us a marvelous image of our Lord’s love and care, by bringing up the thought of a mother bird wrapping her wings around her children to protect and shield them from the dangers that surrounded her children. Even our Father used a similar image when he said to His people, “You yourselves have seen . . . how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:4).
As the enemy prowls about, seeking someone to devour, sometimes we need to hunker down beneath the wings of our Lord for comfort and safety. When we are facing the times of trials and testings, all we have to do is nestle close to Him!
But there seems to be another side to our closeness with the Lord. At the same time we are drawn to snuggle in the warmth and comfort beneath his wings, we are clothed in His armor; carrying His shield, going out to battle the enemies of our King. The wonder of this is that even in the midst of combat, we are safe and warm!
But what is it that Kenny Rogers sang?
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run”
Here’s the thing. While we love the comfort of the safe place under His wings, we can not forget the call to fight! To “go forward” and to persevere! Now when I say that we are to persevere, I am saying a whole bunch more than simply enduring. Now don’t misunderstand me here. endurance is part of perseverance. What I mean is that you have to have endurance if you are going to persevere!
As you should know by now, I don’t just throw words out there. I love words. I love everything about words – learning new words, plays on words, the etymology of words, applying one word a lot of different ways, comparing words, researching words, and taking the time to choose the perfect words to convey what I mean. Yes, I admit that sometimes I am a little flippant about words I use, but I will usually say so, at the time.
All that being said, when I compare perseverance and endurance. The word perseverance has a more purposeful sense of action, while the word endurance is more passive.
Think about it, if I am going to persevere, I have to put some effort into it to achieve a goal. Persevering requires time and energy and often sacrifice. Perseverance will require me to physically do something. For instance, if there is a tornado, in order to persevere, I must run to my basement.
However, if I am enduring that tornado, I am hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass. I don’t do anything. I just let the trials and problems happen to me and hope I will come out on the other side when the rain stops. I am simply a passive observer in this process.
Although, when I talk about enduring something – tolerating it, waiting it out – I must also persevere. In other words, I must take action to overcome it if I am going to be successful (such as when I ran to my basement during the tornado).
I hope I am not confusing you, but if all I do is endure, and refuse to take any persevering action, I will never overcome my hardship! For instance, if I am starving, and there is food in front of me, if I refuse to put the food in my mouth and chew, I will still be starving, right?
Now let’s be honest, here. There are times when we need to persevere and there are times when we need to endure. And the perfect example of this is when it comes to our spiritual growth and our relationship with our Lord!
Let me make this clear! If we want to grow in our relationship to the Lord, then holding on and riding things out is not an option! If we are passive about our relationships with our Lord, passive in the “growth opportunities” (what some call trials) that come our way, passive in our response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, passive in our prayers, passive in our obedience, we will never grow spiritually! If we merely endure this life while we (im)patiently wait to get to the next life, we squander the opportunity to know Him intimately!
However, if we persevere in our faith, actively reaching out to Him through prayer and worship, actively studying the scriptures, actively respond to the promptings of the Spirit, actively focusing our emotions and thoughts on everything that, as Peter instructed us, is lovely and true when so much around us is broken and false, we will grow closer to the One who made us to know Him and to make Him known. We will grow spiritually.
If we are spending most of our time enduring our life, all we are doing is burying our heads in the sand. We are fooling ourselves if we think that is okay. Just holding on and riding things out is NOT spiritual growth! We must persevere in our personal relationships with Christ, doing whatever it takes to love Him more each day!.
Total Life Change Representative
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.