II Corinthians 8:10-11 Message Bible “So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t.
As people exchange greetings, you might hear something like this. “Hi Joe. How are you doing?” “Oh I’m hanging in there man,” or “I’m holding on,” or “I’m maintaining.” People often think of maintaining as not going backwards but not going forward.
I want you to imagine for a minute. Imagine that you are on the ledge of a twenty-story building, dangling over the ledge, hanging on by your fingertips (just like in the movies.) Would hanging on really be maintaining a secure position or would you be in a negative position going backwards and about to be a casualty. I would guess that those fingertips are only going to last so long and then you’d shortly be history.
Hanging in there; holding on; maintaining or just getting by; these are not really positions of staying securely in a place. Some imagine maintaining like treading water. Do you understand that treading water isn’t a position of maintaining? It’s a time clock to running out of energy and then sinking.
I am painting these pictures today to help you see that in the Lord you are either pressing on and going forward or you are actually going backwards. “Hanging in there” is going backwards – it’s regressing. Let me show you a biblical picture of men that thought they were “hanging in there” or maintaining.
1 Sam 17:4, 8-11, 16 “A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.”
Now these men felt like they were hanging in there. After all, they hadn’t lost the battle. They were both holding their sides. No the truth is, that in their maintaining, they were actually losing ground. Why, because they were God’s men. They were God’s people and He was their God. There was supposed to be able to defeat the enemy. Yet, here they were, day after day just trying not to lose their position. That’s a place of going backwards. They were losing ground in their heart and faith. Every day they began to wonder if God was really there for them. That wondering is doubt – the enemy of faith! Their confidence in God lessened. When you begin to lose confidence in God and who you are in Him – when you begin to doubt God moving in your life, then you are not maintaining, you are going backwards.
Something changed. David showed up. David knew His God. David knew who he was in God. The men tell him what is going on. This young shepherd boy’s heart cries out,”What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam 17:26 NIV)
David was not a maintainer. Why should he be? God was and had been with Him. He didn’t know how God was going to do it but he knew His God. He knew God required faith so he began to press in faith toward a victory while everyone cowered afraid yet thinking they were maintaining. David advanced toward the enemy and cried these famous words.
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Sam 17:45-47 David pressed toward God’s promise and expected victory. He used His faith and authority in the Lord.
So, were you called to cower or maintain or were you called to press and win. Phil 3:14 says, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
God is with you. God is for you. God will help you do those things that you know are His will and purpose! Rom 8:31-32 says, “… If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” And finally, as today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. (II Corinthians 8:10-11 MSG) In other words, forget maintaining. Go after real progress in your life. God is with you!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved