When Pastor KR Mele sensed the Lord’s call to undertake a coast-to-coast bike ride to share Christ’s love and raise support for a few worthy causes, he didn’t even own a bike. Believing God’s word “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he and a friend took off on a journey of a lifetime
Climbing mountains will test your endurance. Whether on foot, pedaling a bike or overcoming mental hurdles, mountains (challenges) come in a variety of sizes, but the fact remains, no matter how high one is, you still must climb it. As my 74 year old friend and I pedaled from Santa Monica, California to St. Augustine, Florida over 38 days, the highest elevation we would climb would be 8,228 feet in New Mexico…and what a wild ride down the other side, 17 miles of S-turns travelling at speeds upward of 40-45 MPH. More than anything on our ride across country, the mountains tested our endurance. But as I was told in San Diego on Day 2 from an experienced biker, this trip was 5% physical and 95% mental. Isn’t that true in life and ministry as well?
The apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:8) Paul calls this race we’re in a “good fight,” and the goal is to finish it by “keeping the faith.” A fight is never easy, no matter how you look at it. But this fight is worth it, that’s why it’s called a “good fight.” Every day we need the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the temptations that will try and blindside us and make us want to quit. Here are some promises that should keep us climbing.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22, 23
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (do not give up).” Galatians 6:9
Continuing this “fight of faith” to the very end takes endurance. Have you ever heard someone say, “God will not give you more than you can handle?” Don’t believe it! Many believe this is found in God’s Word, but it really isn’t. It’s possible that it gets confused with 2 Corinthians 10:13 that says, “…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” It’s true, God will not allow us to experience more temptation than we are able to bear, but God usually gives us “more than we can handle,” because if we could handle it ourselves, we wouldn’t need Him.
Our endurance should come from the Lord and a realization that the resurrection power of Jesus Christ lives in us as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. He is our Endurance! The verse we chose for our “Coast 2 Coast 4 Jesus” journey was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) But to truly understand this verse, my eyes must travel to verse 11 where Paul says, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” To have endurance, we must first learn how to be content. Content with who we are, where we are and what we’re facing. Psalm 121 became engraved on my heart as I climbed mountains on my Giant Defy Composite bike. I would quote it out loud to remind me of where my strength comes from. It gave me strength to face every challenge that came my way. Here is how it begins…
“I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1, 2
Let’s not neglect our time with the Lord. If we do, we could find ourselves discontented and lacking endurance. I pray the Lord gives us strength to endure and never give up. Remember, it’s worth the fight!