Like Christ and Gehrig, Christians must 'play' through the pain
By Emmett Murphy
Saturday, August 18, 2018
“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (The Bible, New International Version)
The greatest tool in Satan's bag is not lying, unfaithfulness, or many other things that we could name. The greatest tool he has is discouragement. It affects everyone sometime or other, even preachers and teachers of God’s Word. All Christians face this attack. Any Christian that can get up can also get way down. We have an enemy named Satan who is as real as God Himself. And the devil is never more successful in defeating us in the Christian life than when we fail to recognize that he exists. Billy Sunday, a 19th century evangelist, said, “I know the devil is real for two reasons: one, because the Bible says so, and two, because I've done business with him.”
If Satan was too subtle for Adam and Eve, and he had a war going on in the Apostle Paul, then certainly he can get to each of us. You may be a good fighter, but if you are a poor judge of the enemy, you will lose to him because he is powerful. He is powerful, but not all powerful. “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4.)
Lou Gehrig was the first baseman for the New York Yankees for 15 years and played 2,130 games in a row. He has been called the “Iron Man of Baseball” for a simple reason. After he retired, his hands were X-rayed, revealing that every finger had been broken at least once... yet he never missed a game! He played even though he was hurt.
Do you play when you are hurt? Are you faithful even when someone says an unkind word to you or snubs you or lies to you, or when you don't get your way? That's the real test of a committed person. Are you brokenhearted and depressed? Fearful, sick, misunderstood, beaten down? Has your pride been hurt? Have you been offended or insulted? Have you gotten a bad deal? Nevertheless, you still have to play. Will you still play — or remain faithful — even though you are wounded or hurt or discouraged?
The Lord Jesus kept His commitment even though He was “wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Jesus came to earth to do His Father's will, and even though it hurt Him deeply, even to the death, He kept on. He didn't quit.
Let these scriptures encourage you: Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” I worship because the Bible says, “Let us not give up meeting together.” (Hebrews 10:25.) I sing because the Bible encourages me, “Sing the glory of God's name; make His praise glorious.” (Psalm 66:2.) Where did we ever get the idea that enthusiasm for a task returns when we quit? Paul said, “Since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1.)
Let me encourage you not to quit. The root meaning of the word “encourage” simply means “to put courage in.” It means the infusion of power or advice or inspiration that makes another person perform better. One of the ways we encourage each other is to grow in the Christian faith and to gather with fellow Christians. Dr. Clay Perkins has often quoted Proverbs 27;17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Be encouraged and be an encourager.
Emmett Murphy is minister of Journey Christian Church.