If there were only two words to describe how to successfully navigate the wilderness of faith they would have to be, ‘Don’t quit.’ No other words succinctly state the importance of fierce determination to navigating the trials of maturity quite like those two. This the heart of the message we read in Scripture where it states how Jesus set His face like a flint to go to Jerusalem. (Isaiah 50:7)
There is a certain bell at Naval Base Coronado where men are tested to see if they can become Navy SEAL’s. During the rigorous 6 week training time, many men quit. When they do they are required to ring the bell three times to announce they are dropping out. This significant act attracts the attention of all and is a deterrent for the remaining candidates to not quit. The reason for this ceremony is simple, the Navy can only have SEALs that will never quit no matter what.
War is tough. The America war fighters know this and have developed a program to weed out anyone not up to the challenge. Navy SEAL instructors are former SEALs and know what it takes to survive. Their mentality is if you can’t make it in training, you won’t make it in combat. Therefore, these instructors actively encourage men to quit. This continually slims down the numbers, and those that remain are tested even harder. Only those that fully vow to never quit, no matter what, will graduate. They set their face like a flint to finish.
Jesus tests our faith in the wilderness the same way, pushing our faith to the limit and allowing satan to discourage us from continuing. Though it may not be as physically difficult God is still looking for faithful people that will not give up under any circumstance.
Our example, Jesus Christ
Jesus never asks us to go anywhere or do anything that He did not do. He is our great High Priest and His life is our example on how to live. When Jesus was in the wilderness His faith was tested to the core and satan actively encouraged Jesus to quit and follow him. (Matthew 4:1-11) Jesus did not ring the bell and give up.
Jesus never quit.
On the contrary, our Savior set His face like a flint; determined to go to Jerusalem and finish the task the Father had placed before Him. Jesus’ fierce determination to fulfill His purpose despite rabid opposition is the only reason you are reading this today. That steadfast spirit in Jesus endured the cross and despised its shame so you and I could find peace with God.
Our fierce determination
When Jesus led our family into the wilderness, the opposition we had to face was relentless. There were many times we were actively pushed to give up and give in. The enemy didn’t stop once in those three years of homelessness as we endured many harsh trials, discouragement, destitution and peril. We often thought of quitting, in fact we discussed it frequently, but we never once stopped walking forward in faith.
The most difficult period we had though was just before our homelessness. We could not understand the season of the wilderness and were puzzled by the increasing attacks on our family. Each time we resisted the assault; believing we were stronger in faith as a unit than if we were separate. With each level of loss, our family grew together in our faith and we found a strange thing developing.
Even though we could not chart our progress, we discovered we were getting more invested in seeing this trial through to the end. We could not understand it, but we had learned to trust God and follow the silver thread of His leading. By the time we were made homeless, we were so invested we could not, and would not turn back. We had set our face like a flint to follow Jesus to whatever end He had prepared for us. His fierce determination had become our own.
In today’s podcast we want to share with you a little of our journey and encourage you to set your face like a flint to follow Jesus. Though you may not know what the path will be like we want you to know that your Lord will not abandon you. Just as He was fiercely determined to face Jerusalem He is determined to stick with you through the wilderness. Your only job is ‘don’t quit.’
Homer and Wanda