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Staying Power

Do you have what it takes to stay in ministry for the long haul? We often hear about ministers who have fallen out of the ministry for a variety of reasons. Immorality. Burn out. Bad decisions. Money embezzlement. Family issues. For whatever reason, they quit. Some estimates say as high as 1,500 ministers drop out every month. How about you? Will you finish strong? Will you go the distance? You can. The apostle Paul shared with Timothy three steps that can provide staying power to those in ministry. The steps are listed in his second letter to Timothy.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful." 2 Timothy 4:7

#1 - Staying power is found in fighting a good fight. Put on the whole armor of God each day and in the power of the Holy Spirit, go to battle against bitterness, anger, lust, envy, greed and other tricks of the enemy. Solomon reminds us that our number one job as a leader is to guard our heart against such things.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23

These pitfalls are usually not seen until you are so weak that you can't hide them anymore and they come rolling into public view. By this time, you are ready to throw in the towel. You have no fight left inside you. You are in a spiritual battle. It may appear to simply be a battle against flesh and blood, but it is not. It is so much deeper than that. The good news is God offers us staying power through the Holy Spirit. The truth is we cannot last in ministry without His help. It takes getting up each morning and examining our heart. It takes yielding ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes depending upon God to take you all the way to the finish line. #2 - Stay faithful. God has much to say about faithfulness.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful." 2 Timothy 4:7

Staying power doesn't happen in a year or even 5 years. I believe it is measured in decades. God hasn't called you to be successful. He has called you to be faithful. Hour upon hour. Day upon day. Week upon week. Decade upon decade. He has called you to serve faithfully. And there is a compound effect that happens as you serve faithfully year after year. You remain. Wiser. Stronger. More passionate. Closer to God. More effective for God. #3 - Finish your course.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful." 2 Timothy 4:7

Notice that Paul clarifies with Timothy that He has finished the race God had for him. I often say this...

"The best way to be successful in ministry is to stay in ministry."

It's true. God has not asked you to finish someone else's race. He has asked you to finish the race He planned for you. We are not called to compare our ministry race with someone else's. We are called to keep our eyes on Jesus as we run the race He has for us. That's how you finish. That's how you have staying power. Years ago, there were 3 young men who were just starting out in ministry. Two of the three were considered better speakers than the other one. You've probably never heard of the two men who were deemed more talented than the third person. One was Chuck Templeton. He was a brilliant, dynamic preacher. Some said he was the most gifted young preacher in the country. Bron Clifford, was the other gifted preacher. Many said he was the most gifted, powerful preacher to come up in the church in centuries. By the age of 25, he had touched more lives, influenced more leaders and set more attendance records than any other minister in American history. All three jumped into ministry full force, with Chuck and Bron, being the most effective. But...you've probably never heard of Chuck and Bron. Why? In just a few short years, Chuck quit the ministry and afterwards, he soon became an atheist. What about Bron? In a few years, he also dropped out of ministry. Due to his addiction to alcohol, he lost his family, ministry and health. He died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 35. I'm sure you've heard about and know about the third person. He stayed on track for Christ and faithfully preached the Gospel for decades. His name? Billy Graham. Over the decades, Billy preached the Gospel to over 215 million people in more than 185 countries. Staying power. That's what Billy had. And you can have that same staying power if you will follow the 3 steps we've talked about today. Fight a good fight. Stay faithful. Finish your course. Staying power...it's available for you.

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