Persevering in Tenderness

By Kelly Shaw
Kelly is a member of the SVM2 international facilitation team.

Each of us has a calling on our lives. Do you believe that? Do you see your calling expressed in your daily life? Most times the road to our calling is paved with tests to mature and deepen us in our walk with God.

Through Christ’s strength and empowerment via the Holy Spirit, we can step into and walk in the fullness of who our Father has created us to be. God requires perseverance on our behalf along the way. At times, we may feel like giving up, but we must not give up!

Each step along the way God is shaping and molding us more into Christ’s image. God is both gentle and kind like the good shepherd, but He is also the Father, who disciplines those He loves. (Proverbs 13:24) When we think of the great heroes of the faith like Abraham, Moses, David, and others, we often think of their great accomplishments and many acts of faith.

But I believe that the reason that they are heroes is because when they faced tough times and were disobedient, they ran back to God – perseverant to know more of God, dependent on Him, and full of repentance.

Looking at Abraham, we see a man who received a promise from the Lord that his descendants would be like the stars in the heavens. Sarah suggested that since she seemed to be barren that Abraham should sleep with her servant Hagar, and Abraham agreed.

However, God’s plan was for his son to come from Sarah. Yet, God’s plan was not messed up just because Abraham tried to do things his way. He submitted himself again to the Lord. Though he laughed at the thought of having a son born to him when he was 100 years old, yet he decided to do things God’s way.

Abraham could have told God that he was bailing on that plan, but Abraham persevered in following God’s call on his life. Having a child when you are 100 years old is not an easy task as children require a lot of energy.

With Moses, we see a man who was raised in a royal family and saw his people being beaten. After killing an Egyptian man, he fled for his life into the wilderness. He was a murderer and one who evaded justice. Yet, Moses heart was tender toward the Lord.

When Moses encountered the Lord on the mountain, he knew that he entered into something holy. Moses could have backed out of what the Lord called him to do completely. He could have said I want nothing to do with those people down in Egypt.

Yet, because he loved the Lord, he could not say no. He agreed to the task with the help of Aaron. Because of his willingness to surrender to the Lord and persevere, Moses was changed from a murderer to the one who delivered the Israelites from the Egyptian oppression and slavery.

In David’s life specifically, he messed up on more than one occasion. He sinned in adultery with Bathsheba; he had a man killed; he had a census conducted that the Lord told him not to do which resulted in a plague where many people died.

Yet, he was called a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22) How is it that a man with what we would call enormous sins could be used of God so mightily and be so beloved by the Lord? God did not love David’s sin, but He loved David’s response when confronted with his sin.

His heart was tender toward the Lord. And when God sought to correct him, he quickly heeded God’s word. David persevered in his walk with the Lord and refused to let his own flesh or the enemy steal away the intimacy that God had designed for him to enjoy.

From looking at these examples, we need to learn the lessons that will mature us and lead us into a more fruitful life of faithfulness to God. With Abraham, we see that even if we have tried to take God’s promises into our own hands that God can still accomplish His purposes.

We need to humble ourselves and resubmit ourselves to God’s purposes and plans, surrendering our own ideas of how we need to get there. From Moses, we can learn that no matter what has happened in our past God can still make us into an instrument used for His glory.

We cannot let our heart grow hard or cold, but keep it tender before the Lord, allowing Him to teach and correct us along the way. As we look at David, we see a man who was quick to repent when confronted with his sin.

David loved the Lord more than his own pride or reputation. We are all called to love the Lord more than ourselves. Sometimes this requires humbling ourselves and taking the lower position rather than caring what it will make us look like if we need to repent to someone.

God is no respecter of persons, and each of us is capable of being a “hero” of the faith. We are called to break into our destiny by persevering through the tests and trials that come our way. We are faced with a choice each time we encounter a test or trial.

Our response determines how God can use us as His agents of change in the earth. We have to run the race God has given us and persevere to the end. No one finishes a race by giving up in the middle or when the going gets rough.

When troubles come or when we mess up, we have to get back up and make things right with the Lord. By letting the Lord refine us and break us, we will see the fruitfulness of a life lived well before the Lord.

For those called to be message bearers, the road to get to the field will be paved with many tests which some people may call obstacles – like raising support, finding prayer partners, and figuring out our ministry to people in a specific area of the world, but I challenge you to look at them as opportunities to see the Lord move.

For those called to be senders through prayer and giving, the tests will be equally as hard, searching our very hearts to the core. Yet in all of these trials, God calls us to persevere that we might run well and finish the race that is set before us.

Where is God testing you? Maybe the enemy is putting some trials before you. Remember not to give up and keep your heart tender toward the Lord.

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