Staying The Course
By Lois J. Stucky (1928 – 2014)
Our blessed Lord Jesus Christ could say on the Cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30) – His life’s purpose was completed, finished according to God’s plan. Untold numbers of us will be everlastingly thankful for the redemption which is ours because Christ persevered to the end and finished the course set before Him. All praise and honor be to His worthy Name!
The Apostle Paul left the testimony, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Although he encountered many rough and dangerous places on the pathway of his life, he did not let that turn him aside, but he pressed on to “finish [his] course with joy,” fulfilling what God had given him to do (Acts 20:24). He had a fixed purpose and he pressed on to its completion (Phil. 3:14).
The pathway before you and me might seem insignificant compared to those two illustrious examples, but we, too, must have the goal of persevering to the end if we expect to receive “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for [us]” (1 Pet. 1:4). Primarily we should desire to persevere for the sake of the Father and the Son, that throughout eternity we should be “…to the praise of the glory of His grace” – God’s grace extended to us that we might persevere (Eph. 1:6). Required with His grace is our part, a fixed purpose and staying the course.
We ought not to map out our own course, but seek continually to determine God’s good will and pleasure and trust in His guidance. He has given us His Word as an unerring guidebook, and we have the Holy Spirit as an unfailing guide. If we obey, we will be kept from following the course of this world, which leads to great loss.
Praying Always (Eph. 6:18)
One of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life in which to “stay the course” is prayer. Hear again our Lord’s familiar admonition to His disciples in the crucial hour in Gethsemane: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). We may be convinced that prayer is of vital necessity, but we have failings in prayer and shamefully confess, “...the flesh is weak.” There is a ferocious enemy who will take advantage of every opportunity to turn us aside from prayer. God help us to be strong to do our part – with fixed purpose, with stern self-denial, with strong effort and with constant seeking of the Holy Spirit’s mighty help that we might pray in an effective way. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).
Let us pray one for the other that in this significant, late hour we will be encouraged and enabled to prevail with God not only for our own overcoming and enduring to the end, but for our families, churches and nations. Our Almighty God is able and longing to do far more than we are now seeing. Let us make it our daily cry to God, “O Lord, revive Thy work…” (Hab. 3:2). Let us seek to do our part in asking God to pour out of His Spirit throughout the world, bringing salvation to multitudes, to the glory of His grace!