By Ed Wittlif
"The secret is not to give up hope. It's very hard not to because if you are doing something worthwhile I think that you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness before you come through the other side." (George Lucas)
There are times in my walk with God that I have felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. I have struggled with the same temptation and given in and sinned. When the light at the end of the tunnel cannot be seen, why not just quit? There were times that I felt it was hopeless. I would never change.
I have learned that the feeling of hopelessness comes from viewing God primarily as a judge. That has changed over the years. I have found that I cannot leave God's word alone. I had a hunger for reading His word that persisted even when I wanted to give up.
One thing that changed the way I thought about God was the parable of the talents. I realized that the one talent man was condemned for not trying (Matthew 25:14-30). The first letter of John also helped me to persist in light of my hopelessness. God desires to forgive me and will if only I will confess my sins to Him (I John 1:9).
The second chapter of I John reminded me that if I sin, then Jesus is my Advocate. This ties back to the simple fact that I must be honest and admit my sin.
My Father wants me to persist in my struggle with sin. The greater my persistence, the easier it becomes. However, if fleshly desires are less of a temptation, then perhaps pride becomes a greater problem.
Paul said, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Trust in Jesus and His cleansing blood and in the proven love of the Father. That is what my hope is based on.
- Ed Wittlif is from Denver, CO; via the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. Joe Slater serves as minister and he may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com