Don’t Abandon Your Post
Many starts running the race well, but we are called to finish well. Looking at many heroes of the faith, we can see that some started strong or became strong but finished weak. The reason why some failed to finish the race strong as they abandoned their post.
In the Lord’s word to the Church of Thyatira, the Lord said:
“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience, and as for your works, the last are more than the first…And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations…”
Revelation 2: 19, 26
It is always good to continue to grow stronger in the Lord, but we must finish the race strong. Listen to the correction of the Church of Ephesus:
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have reserved and have patience, and have labored for My Name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place- unless your repent.”
Revelation 2: 2-5
Here the Lord adds more color and clarity to His expectations of us in fulling our call. So it is not just what we do but what is the motivation behind what we do!
The term “first love” comes from two words, “protos” and “agape.” We know that agape love is the divine love and that “agape” is the noun form of this love. “Protos,’ is an adjective meaning first in rank, first in time, first in influence, and chief.” So, it is not walking in a first love, but who is your first love? Here we gain an understanding of how we are to see and hold Jesus in our lives. He must be first in terms of time, place, voice, and authority.
It is easy to be busy doing good works, yet they bring Him no honor. Listen to His rebuke of the Laodicean Church:
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Revelation 3: 16
So their works lacked the fire of His Presence but at the same time were not blatantly wrong. Now turn to the correction for the Church of Sardis:
“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”
Revelation 3: 2-3
First, I feel led to point out the need for imminency. Someone criticized me for daring to preach on this, but it is clear throughout and in verse three here that he expects us to walk knowing He can come imminently. If we lose sight of imminency, we can think we have plenty of time and put off till tomorrow what needs to be done NOW.
Here again, we see believers who appear to have started strong but lost the fire which comes from abiding in the Secret Place of His presence. Here again, the call is to repent, which means to recognize that we have blown it and fallen short. May we be quick to repent and keep a soft heart towards Him, always red hot in the Spirit?
He commands us to be “watchful” or spiritually alert and in tune with the Holy Spirit, discerning the times and knowing what to do. But again, look closely, the watching is with a view to His return and being found ready. Now let’s look at the story of Paul and see his trial before King Agrippa. Paul said:
“So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and if the things which I will yet revel to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout the region of Judea and then to the gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me…”
Acts 26: 15-21
The call always comes at a cost. When you step out to fulfill the call, you become a threat to the enemy, and he will do everything to stop, discourage and derail you. He wants you to abandon your post or at least the fire to fulfill the vision of Heaven. But the cost of not fulfilling the call is even greater. We must understand there are lives at stake.
Let’s look at the story of Jonah. Jonah is called to go warn Nineveh which was for a period of time the largest city in the world. This largest city with its mighty walls and gates was in northern Iraq along the Tigris River. We see in Genesis chapter ten that Nimrod built Nineveh as part of his empire. In Jonah, chapter three, verse three the city is so big it takes three days to walk around it and many claim it had around 120,000 people at the time.
Nineveh was a wicked city, and the Lord came to Jonah and sent him to bring a word to them. Jonah, like many believers, felt that Nineveh was deserving of judgment and runs. We must always understand that you can’t run from the Lord because He will pursue you, and the call will cry out.
“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord…”
Jonah 1: 3
The word flee here means to make haste, yet Jonah was determined not to go. When things go wrong on the boat, and everyone prays to their gods, Jonah goes to the bottom of the ship to sleep. He knew if he prayed, the Lord would confront him. Many believers find themselves in the same position. They are running from the call and fearful of His Presence.
The Lord pursues us and seeks our attention, and the more we run and refuse to listen, the louder He gets.
“So he said to them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of Heaven, who made the sea and the dry land. Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, ‘What have you done this? For the men knew that he fled from the Presence of the Lord, because he had told them.”
Jonah 1: 9, 10
Jonah did fear the Lord but, despite it all, still refused to go to Nineveh. He told them to throw him into the sea. Jonah would rather die than go to Nineveh.
Sometimes the Lord calls us to do something that we don’t want to do, and it seems to violate our beliefs. Jonah saw the sin of Nineveh and wanted nothing to do with it out of fear of the Lord. But the Lord pursued Him and had a plan. The Lord had a whale prepared the Word says. Here finally Jonah becomes broken and humbles himself before the Lord.
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. And he said: ‘I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction and he answered me.”
Jonah 2: 1
The Lord delivers Jonah from the belly of the whale and, a second time, calls to him:
“Now the Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message I tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the Word of the Lord…”
Jonah 3: 1-3a
Jonah spent three days in the whale and had to walk three days to Nineveh, but when he finally arrived, the people heard what he said and repented.
‘So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.”
Jonah 3: 5
The Lord knew what He was doing, and the people turned back to Him.
“Then God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said he would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”
Jonah 3: 10
The proof was in the pudding as they saw, or their actions and deeds confirmed the heart change. But let’s look at Jonah:
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness One who relents from harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to life. Then the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah 4: 1-4
Jonah wanted judgment to come. As you look at Psalm seventy-three, you get a picture, perhaps, of what was going on in Jonah’s heart.
“For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Psalm 73: 3
We see the evil of people and that they seem to prosper, and you walk righteously. Then on top of that, the Lord gives them an opportunity to repent! It offended Jonah, and the Lord calls him out, asking him why he thinks he has a right to be angry.
We must be careful never to allow our opinions or emotions to take us captive. May we never abandon our post because we can’t understand the plan of the Lord?
Now if we turn to Esther, we see how Esther had to step up to the plate and fulfill the high call of Heaven for her life. Listen to what Mordecai said to Esther:
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether or not you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther 4: 14
There are consequences to abandoning the call. The impact touches our family and the world we know. When we have to stand before Him and give an account, our excuses will fail in the light of all that was at stake. May we like. Esther has eyes to see the true consequences of abandoning the call.