Monday, September 08, 2008

Giving up

I was in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico last week preaching. Agua Prieta is a town of 70,000 or so in the middle of the desert. As we approached the brother driving said, "I don't see the usual cloud of sand hovering over A.P--it's been raining lately." And everywhere you go there is sand on everything--in the few paved streets, on cars, even inside the houses. Women will clean in the morning and by afternoon it's sandy again. The preacher told me he had given up on keeping his car clean--it was impossible.

As he said that I realized that was really all you could do, but then I thought about the spiritual application. How many Christians "give up" or "give in" to the pressure of the world around them? When all your friends are drinking, how does a young person not give in? When everybody else at work is pilfering, or just doing the minimum who do you "work as unto the Lord", especially when they begin to put on the pressure? When you are one of only 10 or so Christians in a town, when even your own family is at best indifferent or at worst antagonistic to your efforts to serve God, how do you keep from "giving up"?

In order to overcome the constant pressure you must rely first on God, and then on your brethren, few though they may be. As Rom. 8 points out, "if God is for us, who can be against us?" But in order to keep that always in mind, we must be reading and studying His Word daily. If faith comes by hearing the Word of God (and it does) there is only one way our faith can grow.

Our closest companions will have a great impact on whether we overcome or give up, so they must be Christians too. I know a brother whose wife is not a Christian--she's not antagonistic toward the church, she just doesn't care. What a tragic situation and what a burden it is for him. Our brethren can be a great help to us, if we will make the effort.

There's not much you can do about the sand when you're in the desert, but with the Lord's help we don't have to give in to the world.


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