How Not to Falter

   Written by on September 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Who gave up Jacob to the looter, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey? So he poured on him the heat of his anger and the might of battle; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart. . . . But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 42:24–25; 43:1, ESV).

Does anyone keep promises today? With marriages imploding and children left parentless, can we find anyone who stands by his word for the long haul?

word - mcdonald newIf perseverance is the remedy for the epidemic of quitting, what is the key to perseverance? For followers of Jesus, the answer is clear: I will not falter. God is watching.

If you’re walking in God’s strength by faith and embracing His promises, you’re not going to falter. Isaiah 43:1 is one of the most treasured promises to God’s children in all of His Word: “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.’”

But it was offered in the context of God’s judgment (Isaiah 42). His people were wayward and rebellious, and the Lord was done with their attitude. He was putting some heavy consequences on them.

In Isaiah 42, God made it clear to His people that He had piled all this judgment on them, and they still weren’t getting it. But this judgment was the background to the comfort that followed in the next chapter. Knowing Israel’s desperate situation helps us recognize the value of God’s promise of redemption. And that promise can keep us from faltering.

How? Consider this: Redemption is one of the greatest doctrines in the Bible, seen in its most glorious application at the cross of Jesus Christ. He paid the price you couldn’t pay so you could be set free.

So Fear not, God says. You had the worst possible problem, which required the greatest imaginable sacrifice, and He took care of it. Do you think it’s all over because you have some smaller problems? The Lord redeemed you just as surely as He redeemed Israel. “I have called you by name, you are mine.” What will He not do for you now?

There is nothing good that God brings into your life by way of transformation that He doesn’t bring through the funnel of perseverance. Entrust your soul to your faithful Creator (see 1 Peter 4:19). God is faithful to you, and His hand is on the thermostat. The fire will not get too hot. He’s watching the depth gauge; this trial will not get too deep.

You don’t know what you are capable of when you’re resting in God’s strength and not your own—but He does. Reassure yourself, I’m not going under. You can keep going for another day, because God is producing staying power in you. The ability to remain in that marriage or that job—as hard as it is. The ability to stick with that difficult circumstance—no matter what. If you let God work perseverance into your life, He can truly make you what He wants you to be.

About James McDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and grandfather to five amazing grandsons. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, along with a small group of ministry partners, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel (HarvestBibleChapel.org) which now has 13,000 people meeting at seven locations across Chicagoland each weekend. Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching television and radio broadcast ministry (WalkintheWord.org), was established in 1997. The radio program reaches more than three million people daily, and the television audience extends around the world. In 2002, through James’s leadership and by God’s grace, the church-planting ministry Harvest Bible Fellowship (HarvestBibleFellowship.org) was founded and has established more than 100 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is for God to use Harvest Bible Fellowship to plant 1,000 churches by 2020. James’ extensive ministry also includes a training center for pastors, a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, a disaster-recovery organization, and a Christian school—all used to reach more people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. James is the author of several books including Vertical Church, Authentic, Lord Change My Attitude, When Life is Hard, Always True, and most recently, Come Home.

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