DON’T SETTLE – SEEK OUT THE JOY – PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF – Ray E Horton
There is a cycle, a pattern in life, that, if we will allow it, even when it hurts, we will grow in joy and strength in our Christian lives. Marriage can be a good symbol of success in many areas of life, whether it be our spiritual walk, friendships, careers, etc. Persistence pays off.
This message isn’t about marriage, but marriage truths paint a picture for many areas of life. I remember a marriage seminar that spoke of the “Romance, the Disillusionment and the Joy” of marriage. After initial infatuation and romance, reality and disillusionment set in – he/she isn’t as perfect as I thought. That is the point at which many divorce.
But love is really a decision and not just feelings. If we will allow our commitment to guide us to be loving even when we do not feel love, the joy of a real, mature love will follow.
The Romance Motivates
This can be true of any vision, dream, desire, calling or endeavor. We fall in love with it initially but haven’t always fully counted the cost
This can be true of any vision, dream, desire, calling or endeavor. We fall in love with it initially but have not always fully counted the cost. That is the Romance stage – it motivates us to go forward in the cause. We might never have taken the risk if we knew everything in advance.
But once we begin, we may find in a spouse, for example, temperament areas or faults of habit that were not obvious during courtship, or that new friend really talks too much, or that job is harder than expected, or that calling in ministry seems virtually impossible, or that dream or vision suddenly doesn’t seem to be all that I thought it was.
A Reality Check and Wake-Up Call
We can walk in that wilderness valley of decision for hours or days, or even years, until we remember that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us
This is the time of Disillusionment, a time of questioning. It is a reality check; a wake-up call. And it is a time crucial to one’s future, the valley of decision. We can walk in that wilderness valley for hours or days, or even years, until we remember that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and let go, putting our trust in the Lord.
Here is where we re-count the cost. Now is when it is vital to lean on the Holy Spirit, coming into God’s presence through prayer and worship and trust, leaning not just on our own understanding. It is there that Holy Spirit can open our eyes to more clearly see the goal and realize that we will get there by His power.
Or He may enrich the vision to make it even more desirous and give us the confidence that with Him we will get there. It is in His presence that we will look beyond the obstacles and see that with Him we will get there. He will in that secret place give us relief from doubts and fears and reignite us with fresh hope and the faith to see things through.
Then Comes the Joy
That is when the Joy begins, having been refired, recommitted, and strengthened in faith to run the race and press on with Him at our side. Without that time in His presence in the valley of disillusionment, we will never find that reignited and empowering joy which is mature and in reality far better than the initial romance.
So, let us not give up in the valley, but have faith in God; not just an intellectual faith, but the faith that brings what we hope for into being, which comes from hearing God’s Word from Him directly to our hearts in His presence.