“We don’t persevere in order to be saved. We persevere because we have been saved. God has made it possible for us to maintain faithfulness to Jesus, and God is invested in our faithfulness to him.” –– Glenna Marshall
At TGCW21, Glenna Marshall delivers a practical message on how to be faithful in the small things, noting that it takes time to see spiritual growth. Perseverance and faithfulness are only possible in the Christian life with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Teaching through Hebrews 10, Marshall outlines three calls to action in pursuing and maintaining faithfulness:
1. Let us draw near to God and pray.
2. Let us hold fast to the gospel—we cannot grow apart from the Scriptures.
3. Let us not neglect meeting together and encouraging one another.
Being faithful in these ways allows us to remain connected to the vine and continue growing in Christ as we wait for his return.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Glenna Marshall: My name is Glenna Marshall. I am a pastor’s wife. I live in rural Southeast Missouri. So what we call the Boot Hill of Missouri, and it is just farmland as far as the eye can see. My husband has pastored our church in Southeast Missouri. For the past almost 16 years, we’ve been in one spot, just serving, we’ve got two kids, and our life really is just wrapped up in local church ministry. Now, it’s interesting. I am not a farmer. In fact, I’m not really a gardener. I’ve tried to grow a garden once in my life. And, you know, with the planting, and the fertilizing, and the watering and the waiting, it was so good. And those two weeks that I was in that garden, it was fantastic. And after about two weeks, I was done. I hated the bugs, the heat in Southeast Missouri where I live, we have something we like to call mosquito birds. And some kind of mutant that has happened with the heat and the humidity. And I just quit the garden. It went to seed. And I just went on down to Walmart and I bought some tomatoes, because why not? Why am I doing this if I could buy my vegetables, right? I didn’t have the patience, and the ability to wait. I wanted fruitfulness with no investment. I wanted to be a gardener without actually gardening. And you know, living in a farm area I have will really what I know about farming could fill without a thimble. But I’m going to tell you what I know.
And if you’re like in a farming context here, we can talk later, you can correct me where I’m wrong. But I’m watching farmers for the past 16 years. And when I say like rural, one of my kids schools is surrounded on three sides by crops. Last year, it was cotton this year, it’ll probably be corn next year. It’ll be soybeans, you know, crop rotations that thing. And so what I’ve watched, I really enjoyed, I like to ride my bike. And when you ride through town, you incidentally ride past fields. And so riding bikes, especially this last year where we really didn’t do anything except stay home, I would hop on my bike because it just had to get out of the house. And away from those people that are there every single day. Every day, they were always there. So I’d get on my bike, and I would ride around town. And I would watch through spring through summer through fall a little bit into winter until it got too cold, I would ride my bike and I would get to watch kind of the cyclical nature of the fields. So early in the spring, the farmers are preparing their lands, they’re plowing, and then they plant they go through planting season. And then they wait. There’s a lot of work at first, and then there’s wait.
During the summer, when it gets especially dry. There’s a lot of irrigation that they have to do where I live, it doesn’t rain a lot in the summer. And so they have to come in and irrigate. And then they just really have to wait for the harvest. So they you know, depending on what they’re planting, so if it’s corn they harvest at the end of the summer, if it’s cotton, it’s a little bit later into the fall. So when I noticed as I kind of watched the metamorphosis of the fields, is that the farmers do three things. They work, they wait, and they trust. Because here’s the thing, you can plant a seed, and you can take care of the seed. But ultimately you are not the one who makes the seed grow. Only God brings about the harvest. He set the laws of nature into place when He created the world in Genesis one. So he set things into motion. He is the one who brings about growth. But in order for us to eat, we have to be invested in the process. I think that following Jesus faithfully is alive out like that it involves some work. It involves some waiting. And it involves a lot of trust in what’s interesting about this is that faithfulness, for the Christian, I’m just going to tell you right now, faithfulness, if you are in Christ, if you have believed in Jesus, for forgiveness of your sins, faithfulness is your calling. This is what God has called you to do. If you want to know what God’s will for your life is,
I’m going to tell you, so everybody get your pin. Or if you’re taking notes on a device, like just get ready, I’m going to, it’s not a secret. Everybody wants to know what is God’s will for my life. Here it is, First Thessalonians four, three, for this is God’s will for your life, your sanctification. That’s it. Now that involves lots of things unique to your situation, unique to the gifts that God has given you. But ultimately, God’s plan for your life is to be sanctified, which is to become like Jesus, to be made more holy, more holy today than you were yesterday, just this long process of fruitfulness that God will bring about in your life. This is the call for every Christian. So if you think about the Christian life, sort of in terms, I mean, it’s not exactly linear. But if you want to think about it linearly, you can think about over here, this is where you come to faith in Christ, there was a point where you are not a believer in Jesus, that’s all of us. We all start off as enemies in Colossians. One, Paul says, and you who were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, that’s all of us, until the day that God opens our eyes to the truth of the gospel, and makes us new creatures in Christ. And now our hearts that were dead have been made alive, and they beat for Jesus now. So we have our conversion or salvation. And then ultimately, one day, we’re going to have our glorification, which is where we see Jesus face to face. Paul talks about this in Romans eight. And he’s so sure. And so certain of us being made holy and glorified in heaven with Jesus that he actually uses the past tense, they’re glorified as if it has already been had has already happened. So you have this like long window, however long your life is from the point that you come to faith in Jesus, until you see him face to face. And that window is your sanctification. That is where you are. And that is the that long window however long God has ordained for it to be for you. That is the time where God is going to conform you more and more into the image of Jesus, little by little bit by bit, as Paul says one degree of glory to the next. But it’s hard. It’s not complicated, really. But it’s hard. We are called to follow Jesus faithfully day in and day out, no matter what our situations or circumstances. And you all know as well as I do. I mean, I don’t know your backgrounds, but everybody walks through seasons of suffering. We walk through seasons where we’re waiting for the Lord to do something. We walk through seasons of spiritual dryness in temptation and fighting sin, or maybe struggling to want to fight our sin. We walk through six seasons of just extreme busyness. I mean, I remember when my kids were tiny, I was so tired all the time, I still haven’t recovered. And so we have these seasons, where life is just, it’s it’s ordinary, but it’s hard. And so if our calling is to maintain daily faithfulness to the Lord, just ordinary day in and day out faithfulness, how can we do it? The thing is, is that perseverance is our calling no matter what. And I want to just point you to a couple of passages in Matthew 1022, and Matthew 2413, Jesus said, but the one who endures to the end will be saved. Paul said, and Second Timothy two, if we endure, we will also reign with Him. James, we’re going to talk a lot about James this weekend, James said, Blessed is the man who remained steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. And He also said in chapter five, behold, we consider those blessed who remain steadfast. I mean, the theme of perseverance and steadfastness is woven. All throughout the New Testament, I made a list once of all the New Testament writers who addressed steadfastness and perseverance, and it’s all of them, just FYI. And so, the thing is, is that, as Christians, we have this calling for perseverance. Now, we don’t persevere in order to be saved. We persevere because we have been saved. God has made it possible for us to maintain faithfulness to Jesus, and God is invested in our faithfulness to him.
I want to show you how we see that in Scripture, you know, persevere Your instant faithfulness to stay in and day out as just regular ordinary Christians. I mean, it’s proof of life. It’s proof that we have been saved as the farmer, you know, plants a seed and over time, you can tell what grows. So when I’m driving on the street where my youngest kid goes to school, I last fall, I really noticed the the cotton coming in. So it blossoms first, which if you didn’t know that, it starts off as a flower, and then the bowls pop through. And, you know, it’s not like it pops out as a t shirt. It’s a substance that you’ve got to like, turn into clothing, right? And so, but the bowls come out, and you see, okay, I know what was planted in this field. It’s cotton, cotton, the flower and then the bowl are proof of the seed that was planted. And perseverance is like that in the Christian life. Faith in Jesus has been planted in our hearts, the Lord has given us faith to believe. And as we maintain faithfulness to Jesus, it is proof of our new life in Christ. It doesn’t save us, but it is proof that we have been saved. So you may feel like okay, I get that it’s really heavy charge for where I am in my life right now. I want to be faithful. But I don’t know how and it feels like I’m on my own. Perhaps the good news is that the Lord always equips us with what he calls us to He’s so good. He’s just so good. Anything he calls us to do in the Christian life, he has enabled and equipped us to do. So I want to look really quickly. If you have your Bibles, you can turn to Hebrews 10. Now, I always like to go into a little bit of context so that you know where the author of Hebrews is coming from. And let me tell you, when I get to heaven, one of the first things I’m going to ask is, wrote Hebrews, it just bugs me that I don’t know, I really want to know why the Lord saw fit for us not to know, I’m just kind of to be okay with it. Okay, so Hebrews 10. So just to give you a really quick synopsis of Hebrews, so the author of Hebrews is writing to Hebrew Christians. So they were Jewish, and they come to faith in Christ, but we’re fighting a temptation to revert back to Judaism. So like believing in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross, but also still practicing under the old law, the sacrificial system, having the priests intercede for them and make atonement for their sins. So for 10 chapters, the author of Hebrews is like, the law pointed to Jesus, the whole thing was one big flashing arrow to show you that a Savior was coming, and he would be the perfect sacrifice. And he would be the perfect priest, because He was God and man, he never sinned, he didn’t have to atone for his own sin. He is the priest who intercedes for us. And He is the perfect sacrifice who is enough for us. So everything that the author of Hebrews has said for 10 chapters is this, Jesus is better. I got to study Hebrews last year, throughout the whole pandemic, I studied it in depth with a group of girls that I study with each week. And let me tell you, if you need something to anchor you, in uncertain times, the message that Jesus is better and Jesus is enough will do it for you. So after you study James, go to Hebrews and spend some time there. So when we get to chapter 10, the author of Hebrews is explaining everything that Jesus has done for us and dying on the cross and paying for our sins. And then you get to verse 19. And he says, so sort of in light of everything that we have learned about Jesus, we are called to do three things. And these are really important things.
He says in verse 18, Therefore, brothers, he’s talking to believers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain that is through his flesh. And since we have a great priest over the house of God, so here’s what Jesus has done for us. Here’s what we’re gonna do. Verse 22, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. So whenever you see that language, we’re gonna see it and Jameson like drawing near, we usually take that to mean prayer. And because of what the author is saying, Here, Jesus has given us access to the Father, he is the priest that lives to intercede for us. And so you can go and pray to the Father and not worry about your sinfulness. Jesus has given you his righteousness.
If you are in Christ, you can confidently pray to the Father, just you and the Father. That is amazing. And I think we take prayer for granted. But this is a privilege. This is something that Jesus purchased for us at the cross, access to God. So in light of what Jesus has done at the cross, let’s draw near and pray because we can. So then he says, so next verse 23, so let’s draw near and then he says, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. So what is the confession of our hope? I brought the big one this weekend. This is our confession of our hope. The gospel of Jesus is our hope. And it is his name that we confess and proclaim with our lives and word indeed. But it’s not just you know, the Red Letter part, the whole Bible points to Jesus. It is a book about Jesus coming to redeem a people for Himself, coming to make a way for us to be reconciled to a holy God. If we are going to persevere in faithfulness, we cannot do it apart from regular Bible intake, it cannot happen. You will not find believers flourishing, who have disconnected themselves from the vine. And I just want to say a note to those of you who struggle to lean towards legalism. It is not legalistic to say you must read the word, you will not grow apart from the scriptures. This is God’s chosen means of revelation to us. Our friend Jen Wilkin is known for saying, the heart cannot love what the mind does not know. She is exactly right. You can’t claim to love a god you do not know. If you want to hold fast to what Jesus has purchased for you at the cross, you must know Him through His Word in not out of drudgery or duty, but out of a gift. Jesus has purchased the ability for us to know God intimately at the cross, He died to save us He also died to sanctify us. And so we can draw near confidently, we are clean, made clean through Jesus’s blood, we hold fast to the confession of our hope through Scripture because God is faithful and has given us a way to know him and hold fast. And then in 24, we have sorted the third way that we’re going to hold fast and persevere and faithfulness. Verse 24, and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. So church has looked a little different in the last year, right? Ordinarily, if I get to this verse, I would just say, go to church, and be all in as much as you can. So in light of where we are with the pandemic right now, I would say however, your local church is choosing to be invested and engaged, be all in. Don’t hop on Facebook to the live stream just when you have time. Connect with your people through the week, seek how to encourage and stir up your fellow church members to love and good deeds. And if you’re not part of a local church, I just plead with you to plug into one soon, you will not find Christians flourishing in the faith and isolation, we need each other. In the New Testament. The New Testament authors use language like one body with many parts, one building with many stones. I mean, it’s beautiful imagery, but it makes sense like we are not following Jesus in isolation, we lean on one another, we need encouragement from one another. When you get through those seasons of suffering or spiritual dry spells or dealing with temptation with habitual sin. You lean hard on the family of God for prayer for accountability, they are there to walk with you to help you keep walking and faithfulness and you are there to help them keep walking and faithfulness. Your faithfulness is not just for you. It is also for the people that you do life with, that you worship with. So we have these three sort of what I’m gonna call means of grace that God has given us that Jesus has bought for us at the cross to help us keep this calling of perseverance that we have on our lives. So you can sort of think of them like the plowing, the planting, the watering in the waiting. These are the means God has given us to grow in godliness and just ordinary day by day day in and day out faithfulness. But we also trust that God will bring about the growth. And the thing is, you know, you could slide into that legalistic vein and think, Okay, it’s all on me. I’m going to read my Bible, I’m gonna go to church and I’m going to pray. Got this, like growth check. You know, that’s not how it works. And it doesn’t happen fast and it doesn’t happen. I’m gonna talk about this in a minute, but it doesn’t happen in a way that you can necessarily chart.
It is God’s investment in our growth. That is so encouraging to us. He’s given us means that he has also invested in it. As I said a few minutes ago. It is His will for your life that you be sanctified and made into the image of Jesus, He will do it. He will do it has got ever made a promise that he has not kept. No, he will keep every promise to you, he has kept every promise to you. And if he has called you to become like Jesus, he will see it through. So if you are feeling today, like I am trying to walk forward and faithfulness, but I just feel like it’s more of fumbling forward and faithfulness. And we’ve all been there. The Lord is invested. Look at, you don’t have to turn just listen. In Second Peter one. I mean, here’s just one little promise of how God has invested and equipped us for faithfulness. and Second Peter, when Peter says, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which he is granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them, you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, you are not in the Christian life on your own. I used to think that, you know, it was a miracle that the Lord saved me when I was younger. But it was up to me to bootstrap my way through my sanctification until I see him face to face. Paul addresses this in Galatians. Three, he says to the Galatians, who were sort of in the same struggle that the Hebrews were, they believed that Jesus had saved them that these were Gentile Christians. And they were, they had been convinced that they needed to start following Jewish dietary laws, and the men needed to be circumcised in order to be like full fledged Christians. So Paul says to them, and I love it, because you know, Paul, he’s just a little harsh sometimes, but in the best way, but in in chapter three, and I believe it’s verse three, he says, You foolish Galatians. And I’m just thinking, I’m gonna start saying that to people, You foolish Galatians? I don’t know it doesn’t sound the same when I say it. So he says, You foolish Galatians? Are you trying to continue in the flesh, what was begun in the spirit, your salvation was a work of the Spirit, you can’t finish it on your own. It’s really antithetical to the gospel. We are living on grace. We follow Jesus on grace. And so the Holy Spirit was involved in our salvation, and he’s gonna see us through our sanctification as well. So while God invites us into the process, his investment is key. We have God himself working in us. This is one of my favorite verses you probably familiar in Philippians two, verse 13. Paul says to the Philippian, Christians, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. I mean, I get fear and trembling when I read that verse, I mean, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, that is a heavy charge, I cannot do that by myself. So then Paul follows up for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. I love that second sentence, because it shows us that God has invited us into the process of our sanctification. You know, he’s given us His Word. He’s given us access to Him through prayer, He’s given us the body of Christ. So we’re invited to take part and we are charged to feed our faithfulness with those things. However, he is the one who’s carrying it out. He is working through this, I think John Piper calls it acting the miracle. So God is the author of The miracle of salvation and the miracle of sanctification. But we’re the actors who have the joy and privilege to sort of act it out, so to speak.
So think about the farmers for a second, they don’t just sit around and wait for the plants to grow. They do some waiting, but there is valuable, necessary work that they must do. In the end. It is God who brings life from a seed. And as we do the work of plowing and planting and waiting and trusting it is God who brings about godliness. And we don’t have to think of those things as like things that we do begrudgingly. And Colossians. One Paul talks about being filled with the knowledge of God for all endurance and patience with joy, joy, your sanctification, though it will be hard as you walk through difficult seasons. It is for your joy that you hold fast to Christ. There is so much more joy and suffering while remaining attached to Jesus than disconnect disconnecting because it’s too hard. It is for your joy and for your growth that you remain connected to the Lord as you walk through difficult seasons. Now, we live in a culture that does not aid us for this. We live in a culture that prizes instant gratification. Now I have to confess that Amazon Prime is one of my favorite things in the whole world. And when I click order now or by now, and I get the email, that it’s coming from the Hazelwood distribution center, which is in St. Louis, just a few hours north of me, I know that it’s coming in one day instead of two. And it just gives me such a thrill to know that the thing that I ordered is coming so quickly, I hardly have to wait. I live in a small town. But I saw on a restaurant sign recently that we now have DoorDash is going to change my life. And I don’t know about you, but I used Instacart. For the first time at the beginning of the pandemic. I have Amen. Hallelujah for Instacart. It is such a gift of God’s common grace to us to have our groceries delivered to our house in like two hours, I couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago that something like that would exist. So these are good things. But if you think about it, they do not cultivate patience in our life. If you think to not just about stuff that you can order or buy or purchase, think about knowledge. If you have a question, Who do you ask Siri, or Google, or Alexa. And I’m sorry, if I just set off some things, hopefully, there’s like not an Alexa in here somewhere. So you ask, and in a minute, a second, just depending on how long she has to search your database, you have an answer, or you just swipe, swipe, tap, tap, and you have instantaneous knowledge. And also think about the ways that we can chart things in life. So I’m always like 10 years behind technology. But I got my first fitness tracker this year. And I love it, I love to track steps and calories. And my favorite thing to be able to track is sleep, because I don’t sleep and then I worry about my sleep because they don’t sleep anymore. And so I like I get up first thing in the morning while the coffee is working, I look at my sleep chart, and obsess about it and how I can sleep better tonight. So we have at our fingertips all of these ways to literally track everything, to have instant knowledge about how we slept about how many steps we took about how many calories we burned about how many pages we read how many minutes of a show we watched, everything is instantaneous. And I gotta say, it does not help us when we are trying to pursue lifelong godliness from that long window sanctification, however long the Lord has given you from conversion until you see him face to face. That is a life long walk with Jesus. And it’s slow. And I would say if you think about the, like, if you tried to chart growth, it would sort of instead of being like this, you know, it sort of be like this.
Go go back a little bit. And you feel like I’ve never growing, I’m never going and if you just look back at the last six weeks, you’re not going to see a lot of growth, you know, but if you look back a year, or five years or 10 years, you can see that the Lord has molded you has sloughed off areas of sin that you have long fought with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can see that you’ve grown in knowledge of God. And as you’ve grown in knowledge of God, you’ve grown in love for him. Because we don’t just learn and it for knowledge sake, we learned so that we grow, we learn so that it spills out into our life and encourages other believers so that we can speak what we’ve learned to our last neighbors and friends and family members and co workers our faithfulness is not just for us. So when we get into this idea of a lifelong, like slog is a word I like to use because sometimes it feels that way. You know, when you get up in the morning to read your Bible, like nobody is standing there clapping for you. You know, good job, your job. No, like you’re dragging yourself out of bed, you’re pouring the coffee, and you’re trying to stay awake while you read or study. Or if you’re up late, like maybe you’re a night owl like you’re not getting, you know a bonus at work for using your lunch hour to read your Bible or to go to a prayer meeting at church. You know, it’s this life of faithfulness is not glamorous. No one’s clapping for you. But I gotta tell you, it is precious in the eyes of God as you build your life around knowing him and being faithful to him being full of faith growing in faith, sharing that faithfulness with others that is precious in the eyes of God. It is one But he has called you to it is what he will accomplish in you. So how do we live in a world that gives us instantaneous everything? When we’re looking at a lifelong commitment to following Jesus? Well, here’s where we go back to the farmers. And we’re actually going to go to the book of James, you guys are going to get like a lot, James this weekend. I’m going to jump to the end to chapter five. And because I’m getting you before, all the mainstage speakers, just remember, you heard it here first. Okay, I’m not going to summarize James because you’re gonna get it but we get to verse seven. This is not just me, calling you to consider the farmers. This is the Lord calling you to consider the farmers verse seven, James says, and he’s talking to believers here, be patient, therefore brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains, you also be patient, establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand, he will come, He is coming. Do not grumble against one another brother so that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing at the door he is coming. As an example of suffering and patience, for others take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed, who have remained steadfast, you have heard of the steadfastness of job and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate, and merciful. I love this, this passage, I think, you know, a, an appeal to an agrarian word picture here would have resonated with his original readers. And where I live like that appeals to me, I get it. Think of the farmer think of the work that he has to do to invest in his crop. But also think about how he must wait patiently for the Lord to bring about rain and sun and for the Lord to cultivate growth from those seeds. You also be patient. You can’t track and measure spiritual growth and faithfulness, the way you can a diet plan or a running plan or any other thing that you’re trying to chart and measure in life. Be patient until the coming of the Lord, He is coming. He will finish his work in you. You work you wait, and you trust. It’s not complicated. It’s not easy, but it’s not complicated. Now we get into seasons where it feels complicated. And here’s where I want to just encourage you. You know, sometimes we get into seasons like really busy, busy, like maybe you’re a young mom, and you have little bitty children and you’re tired all the time, you never get a moment to yourself. Maybe you are working a job that is so demanding. Maybe you’re having to do both at the same time. A lot of us have had to do that over the last year.
You know, maybe you are just so busy with your commitments to church and your life is just busy, busy, busy. I want to encourage you. Christians survive differently than the world. So whereas the message from the world is, give yourself a break, take some self care step back. That’s what you deserve. Christians survive differently. When you’re busy and overly tired, remain attached to the vine. If you want to abide in Christ, do not sever yourself from the vine. You will not grow and bear fruit severed from Jesus. So if you’re busy and tired, cling heart to Him through His Word and through prayer and through the body of Christ. It may look different in busy seasons. It may mean that you meditate on a couple of verses throughout the week and work on memorizing them and really driving them into your heart rather than an hour of deep study every day. Sunday, you’ll get back to an hour of deep study if that’s what you choose to do. Do not sever yourselves from Jesus when your life is busy. You need him to persevere and grow in godliness. When you’re suffering and going through trials, hold fast, harder, not less. You need Jesus to to be sustained through suffering and trials. And you’ll know more that he is walking with you and you’re suffering when you keep holding fast to him. When you open your Bible to the Psalms with a heart that is burdened are grieving. The Psalms are for that. If you are grieved and hurting, go to the Psalms don’t disconnect from the word Oh Hold fast even more. Because as you read and hold fast to the Lord through that you will become more confident of the Lord’s presence in your life, that he will not waste your suffering that he is with you in it. Christians survive differently. When you’re going through doubt, or spiritual, dry spell, you know where you just can’t get your heart to engage. Don’t avoid the cure. The way through doubts and dry spells is through them, holding fast to Jesus. It’s not trying to skirt them. And just hope that one day you’ll feel more inspired to follow him. Go through them and hold fast to Jesus one day, the ice will thaw and your heart will catch up with what you know to be true in your mind. Christians survive differently. We need prayer we need the word we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us hold fast when everything in our life is telling us it’s too hard. God has given you everything you need for life and godliness grab hold of it harder, not less. Christians survive differently. When you’re discouraged, by the way that you keep giving in to a habitual sin over and over and over. You just over and over and over turn your face back to Jesus. You go to the Word, you memorize it, you build defenses in your life to protect yourself from temptation. You may not see it now. But 10 years from now you’ll see it. He is using this challenging season in your life, where you are just getting up and putting one foot in front of the other to try to follow him today. He’s using that over time to mold you and make you like Jesus. You know, I had the idea. When I was like, probably in my early 20s. I was a young pastor’s wife when my husband and I first started in ministry, I did not have any Bible reading habits. I had nothing more than emergency prayers. That was about it. I had this idea that 10 years from now, 15 years from now 20 years from now, I will wake up one day and I will be holy. I will be more faithful. But I was busy. I had a job. I had kids I had obligations at church. I would get to that that other spiritual stuff later. But it is folly to expect to wake up one day holier than you are today faithful to Jesus. If you are not feeding your faithfulness today. Your future faithfulness will grow from today’s faithfulness. Your future faithfulness will grow from today’s faithfulness. I’m going to be 40 in a couple of months. And I look back at those years in my early 20s where I thought I’m gonna get it together one of these days, I missed a lot of years of knowing Jesus intimately.
I really did think I just be wise and be mature. When I turned 40. The Lord used in the last 15 years of my life, the Lord took me through a lot of suffering, a lot of really hard years of loss. And I’m thankful that he did it was really hard. But I’m thankful that he did because he revealed to me that my faithfulness was very shallow. And it was very rooted on in happy circumstances. I could not withstand suffering disconnected from the vine. The Lord showed me that the only way to get through My trials was to cling hard to him. And he developed over time over a lot of years, a love for His word and a love for his people and a commitment to prayer. It’s still hard. You know, I still have seasons where I’m busy or spiritually dry, or going through, you know, difficulties. But the thing is, is that he is faithful for whatever season is represented in this room. I want you to be encouraged that the Lord is sovereign over your life. And he loves you. And if he has deemed difficult things to happen in your life and you’re just trying to be faithful and just make it through today. You know, that’s enough. You don’t have to have a big life of of being known or having major accomplishments, or being famous or having an Instagram following why we think that’s important. I don’t know. You don’t have to do those things. Remember God’s calling on your life is faithfulness right now where you are love Jesus today more than you did yesterday. That’s it. And as he grows faithfulness in your life, it will spill over. It will come out and your conversations what you’ve studied what you’ve labored in prayer over what you’ve been learning with the body of Christ as you meet Get in fellowship with brothers and sisters, those things will come out and your conversations, the Lord will use those conversations to encourage believers who are struggling who are walking through seasons that you’ve just walked through. He’ll also use it in conversations with people who don’t know him. Because again, our faithfulness is not just for us. It may feel like, you know, a really ordinary thing to commit to reading your Bible more faithfully, it may feel like just a ho hum, okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna make a list of people to pray for each week, and I’m going to be intentional about it. Okay. You know, again, no one’s applauding you for that necessarily. And it may feel hard to get to church sometimes, or about a weekly Bible study, or however it is that your church chooses to meet right now. But these ordinary, everyday actions are the means that God has deemed good and right for our growth. It’s the plowing, it’s the planting, it’s the irrigating. And then it’s waiting for God to be invested in to bring about that growth that he promises. And I really love in Philippians, when he promises to finish the work that he has begun in us. So if he has saved you, made you a new creation in Christ, he will finish what he has started in you. I that is so encouraging. Because again, while he invites us into the process of growing and knowing him, it’s him that does the real work of growth, we can trust him with that, because He loves us, because before the foundations of the world, he chose to make you his own. He sent His Son to die on a cross in your place. He who knew no sin becoming sin for you? Do you think that that God who did that is going to just leave you to be on your own until you see him? Now No, he is invested, he loves you. And he invites you in to know him more today than you did yesterday. And that is just ordinary, everyday faithfulness, that he has called called you to equipped you to and that he is invested in. He has called you to faithfulness. He has equipped you for faithfulness. He upholds you with His faithfulness. And he always, always, always finishes when he starts. When you come to conferences like this, you get an overload of information. And sometimes it’s just helpful to have like a call to action. What’s one thing I can take away from this session, I’m gonna give you three things.
Because I’m first almost first. So I’m going to give you three things. And you’ve already heard me say it. So it’s not going to be a surprise. I want you when you leave here on Sunday, I want you have a plan in place to read your Bible, whether that’s in the morning, it’s before you go to bed, on your lunch break during your kids nap time, whatever time you can most consistently show up to build your life. Build your day, around that time dedicated to Jesus for Bible reading, and prayer. So those are two for one Bible reading and prayer wants you to make a plan for it. And then I want you to plan to be as involved as you can be in your local church when you leave here. God gave us those things for our growth. And sometimes we just need a reminder that those are good things, that it’s not legalistic to hold fast to the means of grace God has given us to grow. These are his chosen methods. He has given you what you need. And now you can go and act the miracle. Let me pray for you. Lord Jesus, you are so good. Because, yes, you’ve given us a heavy calling. But you have given us everything we need to complete it. You are so good and your love is so evident your steadfast love and it is your faithfulness that upholds us, holds us fast through every season. We can be rooted in your faithfulness. Thank you, Lord, for making it possible for us to walk with you today. And then again tomorrow and the next day and the next day and we have a life of growth and godliness as we remain attached to the vine. Thank you, Jesus. We pray all this in their strong strong name of our Savior. Amen.