Society expects our troops to be willing to respond to any emergency that comes along. I love the verse in Psalm 110:3 where it says that the Lord’s troops will be ‘willing on the day of battle.’ It is a powerful verse, although precisely what it means will vary for each of us according to our circumstances and calling. Nothing can be more important for any of us, though, than our willingness to serve the Lord, provided only that it be coupled to the much-needed perseverance to keep going when times are challenging.
If willingness is a heart response of love to love, then perseverance is a dogged determination not only just to keep going but to go the extra mile whenever it is called for. May the Lord make us willing to persevere, and add perseverance to our willingness in order to see Him break through in one situation after another.
May we, the Lord’s people, be willing for whatever He calls us to.
Join Robert, Sally Mowbray and Colin Owen in this meditation on the twin themes of willingness and perseverance, set to music written by Robert Weston and James Horsfall.
Music: Robert Weston, arr. James Horsfall: Idyll
The LORD said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Send forth from Zion your mighty sceptre.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
As Your people offer themselves freely
on the day of Your power . . .
the dew of Your youth will be Yours,
from the womb of the morning.
Lord, You want us to serve You willingly (1 Pet. 5:2, Pr. 31:13;), for willingness is a response from the heart of love – to which we must seek to add perseverance, for if we possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord is at your right hand;
He shatters kings on the day of His wrath.
He executes judgment among the nations;
therefore he will lift up his head.
When Churchill visited his old school in 1942, this is part of the talk he gave to the boys:
We cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out to be far worse than they are; and yet without imagination not much can be done. People who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.
For everyone who has lived through these [last turbulent months of the war,] this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never; in nothing, great or small, large or petty: never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. (churchill-society-london.org.uk)
Thank You, Lord, for Churchill’s willingness to take his stand when the day of evil did come (Eph. 6:13), and for the way he inspired millions to keep going.
Thank You for so many volunteers who serve wholeheartedly, working sacrificially with ‘willing hands’ to care for even the seemingly least of Your brothers and sisters. Willingness is such a winsome thing! (Pr. 31:13; Eph. 6:7; Matt. 25:40; cf Ex. 36:2; 1 Chron. 28: 20-21)
The more joyful we are in hope, the more patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer (Rom. 12;12), the more willing we will be to draw from the energy that You so powerfully send (Col. 1:29) – and the more death blows we will deal to the enemy’s schemes.
Keep us willing and persevering in those times when Your promises ring hollow in our ears, and we are tempted to heed the devil’s siren songs and give up. But when the season for a particular project or spiritual burden is past, help us be willing to desist and lay it down.
Lord, so much depends on our willingness to be willing: deal with every trace of unwillingness in us. Make us willing on the day of battle’ to obey orders, to believe in the cause that You have planted in our hearts, and to display courage in the face of our fears – even to the point of being willing to suffer, and be broken, if that is what is called for.
This is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Rev. 13:10) But the rewards that You promise are better than sterling silver or even purest gold (Prov. 8:17,19). You promise to love all who love You, and that those who search for You will find You.
Lord, You are the Enduring one, the One who is alive for ever and ever, and who holds the keys to Death and Hades. You are the One who broke the power of Him who held the power of death, and refused to settle for anything less than the destruction of the works of the evil one. (Rev. 1:18; 1 Jn. 3:8; Heb. 2:14)
Jesus, teach us always to pray and not to give up, to persevere in prayer, for this is Your desire. (Luke 18:1; Heb.10:36)
Strengthen our determination to hold fast to our confidence and to commend ourselves by our endurance. (Heb. 3:6,14; 4:14; 2 Cor. 6:4 cf 1 Cor. 4:12; Rev. 2:3)
When the enemy sneers that things will not work out, and that we will never achieve anything worthwhile, when we are obliged to endure taunt and reproach, may we yet take the next step forward, and then the one after that, and declare with all our being “I will exalt in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” (Hab. 3:18)
You are our portion Lord forever, and even though our heart and flesh may be frail and failing, You are the strength of our inner being.
Who can endure the day of Your coming, Lord?
Who can stand when you appear?
Those who walk righteously
and speak what is right,
they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
Their bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail them. (Is, 33:10-16; Mal. 3:2)
They will emerge from the tent of their bodies and share in the glorious dawn of the new world that You are hymning into being, Your ultimate fulfilment of all creation, as we dwell with brothers and sisters from all times and ages in the city of God, whose designer and builder is God Himself. (Heb. 11:10, 35,38)
Make us fit to be among their number, Lord. Even in our fragility may we serve Your glorious and mighty purposes, for You already see how we will be when we are with You in eternity – and You are greatly looking forward to that time!
Lord, it is perseverance that develops the eye of faith to help us see the invisible. (Heb. 11:27) Strengthen and prepare us for the challenges and tests that lie ahead, and keep us looking to You. (cf Jer. 4:29)
Even when we feel as though we are going nowhere, and may even think that we are making fools of ourselves, You are looking ahead to what You will accomplish through our efforts – and all the people You will touch through us.
Keep us standing firm against the devil’s wiles (Eph. 6:11; 1 Pet. 5:9), striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, (Phil. 1:27) persevering to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3; Rev. 2:3; cf 1 Cor. 13:7)
You did not promise that every task we turn our hand to will sparkle like a diamond – but You did promise that the righteous would shine like the stars in their glory. (Phil. 2:15; cf Dan. 12:3)
We are Your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which You prepare in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2: 9-10)
There is nothing more precious that we can give You, Lord, than our love and availability. Our perseverance is so pleasing to You, and those who put their hope in You will not be disappointed. (Is. 49:23)
For those who hold firm to the end, You say “Come, beloved of the Lord: enter into the joy of your Master’s happiness, for those who endure with Me will also reign with Me.” (cf Matt 24:13; 25:21; 2 Tim. 2:12)