But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Sometimes the Christian life can be exhausting, the constant battle with sin, the constant resisting of temptations, ministering and serving people who are a drain, who simply take, take, and take, without giving anything in return. It’s been said the Christian life is not a sprint, but a marathon—endurance is the key to victory. But I think the Christian life is more like an American football game where at the end of one’s career you may have carried the ball for over 18,000 yards rushing, but this comes at a cost of being slammed to the turf an average of every 4.2 yards. As Christians, as we run this race, it can sometimes feel like sin or just life is slamming us to the turf every 4.2 yards. Sometimes it's painful! Sometimes we just want to lay on the ground and not get up again. We’re tired. We’re done. We just want to lay there and give up. The apostle Paul certainly understood the pain and difficulties of living the Christian life. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 he recounts for his readers that five times he was flogged, three times he was beaten with rods, once he was pelted with stones, shipwrecked three times having spent a night and a day adrift in the ocean; he has crossed dangerous rivers, been threatened by robbers, chased by his own people, threatened by Gentiles, had been in danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers, has suffered hunger, thirst, and many sleepless nights. Yet, this same Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Paul understood that although life for the believer can sometimes be incredibly difficult, our labor for God is never in vain. Paul was driven and compelled and motivated by his desire to someday hear God say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.’
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