"… live on"

"… live on"

{For you, friend, you know who you are.}

“… and yet we live on.” (2 Corinthians 6:9)


My right hand is aching this morning. Truth be known, it ached all night… a sharp twinge located in the center of my hand, just below my middle knuckle. I’ve felt it before. It flares up from time to time when my fingers and keyboard collide at a rapid, unrelenting rate. This has been one of those times for me… one of those weeks that has authored an unusual amount of connection between my fingertips and my computer. I don’t mind it much; I really don’t think about it often, especially while in mid-typing mode. But when the computer screen grows dim and the lights go out and my hands find their rest at my side, the pain sets in reminding me of an important truth regarding the call of Jesus Christ upon my life.

Kingdom work is sometimes flanked by the painful ache of a sacred obedience.

If we are Christians, if we dare to name ourselves with the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, then we are to be heartily invested in his kingdom business. We don’t get a pass when it comes to doing God’s work. Vocationally speaking, we may hold a variety of titles behind our names, but spiritually speaking, the only holding of our hearts that matters is the One who titles us as his. And when we get this—when we finally arrive at the place of realizing that all of our earthly endeavors are meant to be the fertile soil upon which the King sows his seed—then we readily accept the fullness of that calling, ills and aches included.

The Apostle Paul understood the strain between a painful ache and a sacred obedience. He willingly chose his “ache,” chaining himself to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believing that every temporal pain of his flesh was achieving for him an eternal glory that far outweighed them all. At any point along the way, Paul could have chosen otherwise… could have freed himself from the physical and emotional misery that invaded his flesh. Instead, he persevered in great travail and suffering so that the church might know the culminating truth of the cross. So that the church would grow. So that you and I, some 2000 years down the road, might know what it is to “live on” despite the carnage and chaos going on around us and in us. But don’t take my word on it; take his…

“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:
in great endurance;
in troubles, hardships and distresses;
in beatings, imprisonments and riots;
in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
in purity, understanding, patience and kindness;
in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
in truthful speech and in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report;
genuine, yet regarded as impostors;
known, yet regarded as unknown;
dying, and yet we live on;
beaten, and yet not killed;
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
poor, yet making many rich;
having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-10).

I’d never seen it before… Paul’s “live on.” When reading this familiar passage I’m tempted to stay mired in the pain of it all, in imagining how my own life fits into the litany of sufferings he vividly details in his letter to the church at Corinth. Yet it’s there… two simple words that admonished the readers back then and the readers right now to “live on.” To not stay entrenched in the ache of our sacred obedience to Jesus Christ, but to “live on” in spite of it. To press on to take hold of all of that for which Christ has taken hold of us. To keep putting one spiritual foot of faith in front of the other until we press through to victory and can realize, even as Paul realized, that we possess everything, even though the world labels our possession as nothing.

The painful ache of a sacred obedience.

Some of you are living your ache today. Some of you are all too familiar with Paul’s suffering because yours, at some level, mirrors his. You may not be locked in a prison cell or experiencing the physical trauma of a flogging, but I imagine there are many of you who feel the emotional and spiritual intensity of some chains and some wearing and tearing away of your flesh that feels comparable in their depth to Paul’s.

Some of you are expending a lot of your faith on behalf of God’s kingdom gain while seeing little results. Some of you are standing on the front lines of a tenacious, spiritual battle where the line is wearing thin and your reserves have run for cover leaving you alone to fight it through to victory. Some of you are tired; sleepless nights have claimed your good sense and the energy for a new day has long since been usurped by the previous night’s wandering of your mind. Some of you are hungry; a famine of soul is crying out for the bread of heaven, yet the manna seems to have missed your acreage during its morning dispensation. Some of you are working hard, enduring long, speaking truth, and loving lavishly; still and yet, the payoff seems minimal and our Father’s notice all the more. You feel “unknown” and as an “imposter” upon the soil beneath your feet.

I hear you. I feel you. I cannot fully understand what it’s like to be you, but like you, I, too, have known moments, days, and seasons of feeling the painful ache of a sacred obedience. I cannot perfectly aid your comprehension as it pertains to the questions and “whys” behind your struggle, but I can, like the Apostle Paul, give to you a couple of words that have carried me through a great many aches in my past.

Live on.

Don’t die mid-stream. Live on. Press through. Receive everything as if it were happening to our Lord Jesus Christ and then, live on. For of this I am certain… you are known by our Heavenly Father. He sees your sacred obedience and regards you and your faith as genuine in his eyes. If you remain faithful to live on in Jesus, despite the carnage going on around you, then there is nothing in your past, present, or future that will come to you that will be able to undercut the witness of God’s kingdom via your flesh. Nothing. You can live on because Christ lived on. So did Paul; so have countless, unnamed others who have gone before you, who will follow after you, and who, in this moment, stand beside you to cheer you on toward victory.

I am one of them, friends, and I need your encouragement today just as much as you need mine. We’re on the kingdom road together; it’s no mistake that we have found one another in this season of living. God intends for us to be here… to love one another in the strength and power of his Holy Spirit and to live on together until we move home to heaven. It is but a moment from now… a single breath that will transport us into our “next” where our living on will live on in living color and before the very face of God. Believing and fully trusting in that moment, friends, brings me rich perspective for every temporal ache I experience that is connected to God’s kingdom end. Even so I pray, Lord Jesus, keep me obedient.

Keep me obedient to live on. Keep my friends as well. Amen. So be it.

peace for the journey,

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Copyright © May 2010 – Elaine Olsen

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35 Responses to "… live on"

  1. your post card ad came in my mail yesterday…well done! praying this finds your sales growing every day 🙂

  2. "Live on"….what a Word I needed to hear! Worn out yesterday with work, emotional today….mercy, girl! I loved this! It resonates in my heart, and gives me renewed energy for the rest of my "to do" list that includes kingdom work. Thank you! Hope you get some peace today :). Sending you hugs!
    Love ya,
    Susan

  3. A good word to remember, Elaine…Live on. It's a choice, one I pray I can make when the journey is so hard.

    I'm bookmarking this page. I know I will need this encouragement in the future.

    Love,
    Beth

  4. Good grief, have you been spying? 🙂 I"m pressing through, Elaine. It's storming here today, dampening spirits. I think I need me some peace for the journey 🙂

    luv,
    laura

  5. It hard to "live on" when you see no change through prayer and you dealing with the same old,same old.

    Your words spoke to my heart and gave me the little bit of hope to "live on."

    love and hugs~Tammy

  6. A wonderful word Elaine! I have a feeling this touched many more hearts than just the one friend… I believe this is for many of us! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  7. There is so much in this post that I'm treasuring right now.

    Each word just spoke so directly to my heart.

    Thank you for the encouragement to continue "putting one spiritual foot of faith in front of the other". That's so good.

    Sweet blessings to you,
    Kate 🙂

  8. Elaine:

    I shake my head over what God is doing. I just spoke words to someone this morning all about following Christ in whole-hearted obedience – all for His kingdom purposes!

    He is doing that work in many of us now!

    You wrote:
    "Kingdom work is sometimes flanked by the painful ache of a sacred obedience."

    If we love – truly love Jesus – then our obedience to Him can be nothing other than SACRED! Most of the time obdience does not come easy. Yes, it is often filled with pain and sacrifice – but the reward and the fulfillment of the promises that accompany it are worth their weight in gold! I often write in my journals to the Lord – that my obedience – IS my sacrifice – and that is a SACRED act on my part. If I am to be like Christ – then His example of the ultimate act of sacred obedience led to the sacrifice of His life on the cross. Can He expect anything less from me?

    We shall come forth as gold!

    What an awesome post filled with hope and dedication to our God and King!

    Choosing JOY, Stephanie

  9. Such good words Elaine, and the other words that have been a reminder for me so many times are "I press on"… sometimes I feel the 'press' more than the 'live'. Life can remove a pound of flesh from time to time (usually not in the areas I'd prefer!), but… we press on, we live on! The source for the pressing and living is within… thank GOD!

    I can't wait to read your book! Your comments on my page today gave me a chuckle. Isn't it so typical to have a great high and then… reality quickly intervenes! 🙂

    Love & Hugs!

    Sonja

  10. It's that "living on" and clinging to Him that brings us to that next place in His glorious presence. Thanks so much for your words today.

  11. I needed this reminder today! "Live On", it's what I will continue to do! I will follow Jesus with all of my heart and continue to move forward with Him, following Him and His plan.

    I received your book today!!! Can't wait to dig in.

  12. Elaine…..From His Heart through your blogging "pen" to my heart! I really needed this today – thank you, sister!

    "Don't die mid-stream. Live on. Press through……you are known by our Heavenly Father. He sees your sacred obedience and regards you and your faith as genuine in His eyes…..Live on." These are the powerfully seasoned words from Heaven I needed to hear today!!

    You bless me Elaine!

    Luv, Hugs and Sweet Blessings!
    Jackie

  13. What a beautiful phrase to "live " by. Thank you, friend. once again you spoke to my heart.

    Happy Wednesday!

    Oh by the way, THANK YOU for the prayers and sweet comments. God is good.

  14. "Live on.

    Don’t die mid-stream. Live on. Press through. Receive everything as if it were happening to our Lord Jesus Christ and then, live on."

    Needed this word. Pressing on with a speaking engagement and some other writing assignments, even in a crowded and loud house with very little "down" time. I honestly got to the point a few weeks ago where I asked the Lord to release me from any extra ministry at all. He gave me permission to take a break in one area and led me to press on and live on in the others…out of HIS fullness, not my abilities and energy or the lack thereof!

    Great and timely encouragement, my friend. Much love to you!

  15. After reading your awesomely encouraging post of Paul's admonitions…all I could do was lean back in my chair…look upward…and say…yes, Lord…

  16. What a Word I needed tonight! I spent the better part of this afternoon with a heart that was aching and a stomach in knots. I'm definitely in a season right now, and today the weary was wearing heavily on me. So very grateful for your words of encouragement tonight. I long to be found faithful in choosing to "live on," when the road is hardest.

    Praying the same for you, sweet friend and cheering you from alongside.

    Love & blessings,
    Tracy

  17. Thank You, LORD! Thank You for using Elaine to teach us to "live on", in Jesus.

  18. Great Godly encouraging TRUTH. Thank you!We do not walk alone.

    I have your book now! Lovely

    Patrina <")>><

  19. Several months ago after reading a long story from a friend the term "keep swimming" became a phrase that my friends and I use to encourge one another in times of trials. I think "live on" will be a new on that we can add to both encourage and challenge us all. Thanks for sharing.

  20. So glad we're on this kingdom road together, Elaine. Thanks for sharing those precious words from scripture today — "Live on"!

  21. Elaine,

    This is just a perfect confirmation. I was reading another post today which spoke on the same. Yes…it is important for you and I to remain faithful in our sacred obedience…because some day the gift God has given will open doors for us before kings and princes. Meanwhile, we live on..in spite of the setbacks and pain. We live on..because Christ conquered and opened up a new way for us. We live on…until that day!

    What a blessed hope we have!

    Blessings,

    Gladwell

  22. Beautifully put, Elaine. I'm praying for your healing as God healed me. A few years ago I suffered with fibrymyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrom. I also have other serious health issues, but the year and a half I suffered with those two myladies were the worst in my life. They caused sleep depravation, pain so intense I couldn't stand to wear anything binding. I couldn't consentrate to have my quiet time. I could go on, but what I really want to share is how faithful our God was to me during that time. Having an attitude of praise made all the difference. He took my pain and miraculously healed me from horrendous withdrawals. Me thinks I need to blog about this… Thanks so much for sharing your pain and ministering to others.

  23. What an encouraging word!! Live on…! Thank you Elaine! I needed this today! 🙂

  24. You touched all my tender spots in this post, Eileen. May HE continue to inspire and sustain you – body (fingers & hands), soul, and spirit.

  25. I pray too for that sacred obedience to live on and hear His voice confidently. Bless you, Elaine, and may the Lord strengthen you as you serve.

  26. Elaine, I receive "live on" as my own this evening. So many desires of my heart, and so many struggles that press me to those very words, "live on."

    What a call to sacred obedience! The longer I serve Jesus, the more my "eyes" see the need for less of me. How I must fight for that less.

    Yes, dear friend, I get these words, all the separate and whole of them!

    Much love,

    Andrea

  27. what a much needed, well received word today. Elaine, you just amaze me with the depth of heart in your writing. Thank you…

    By the way? My book came yesterday. Just absolutely beautiful.

    Beth

  28. Perfect post for me today! I love this. I am trying to live on and will be praying for you as well:)

  29. I find that often after a 'mountaintop experience' that's when discouragement sets in. Others don't always respond as I hoped they would or the day to day gets in the way. But live on …

    Great advice from Paul to each of us for different reasons.

    Believe me, I have those moments of fatigue and frustration. But Sassy Granny gave me wonderful advice Elaine. She said take one hour at a time or even one minute at a time. Say "I can live on this next hour or this next day…"

    You are going to impact many people through your book, blog, and speaking. Keep your eyes on Christ and don't allow anyone to spoil this time for you. I'm so excited for you and can't wait to receive my copy of your book. I ordered it several days ago. 🙂

    I was so excited to write about my fun time with Kathleen and Mary and came home to find my computer crashed; no email or anything. In the meantime, I'm thankful for an old laptop to at least visit a few blogs.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  30. "…reserves have run for cover leaving you alone to fight it through to victory." There are few who can speak it better, dear friend.

    Clearly, your words of emphathy touched many. I read somewhere once "That touch of nature which makes the world akin is not joy, but sorrow; gold is partial but lead is universal." Thank you for writing out of your lead. It redeems it somehow, does it not?

    I'm loving your use of the word, "imposter" and how it jarred me into remembering what a lie that is, perpetrated oh so subtly by THE imposter.

    And from your book, I will never forget Samson's "resprouting" of hair (pg 15). There are also few who can write it better.

  31. "Don't die mid-stream. Live on." I came here tonight via Susan at Runner Mom, and I am so glad that I did. I loved your whole post! And those two sentences…I needed those two sentences!

    This has been a rough week, one of those weeks that leaves one ready to throw in the towel! Thank you for the beautiful encouragement. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

  32. I am so honored to have won a copy of your new book via Tracy's blog. I can't wait to read it. I am excited to see how God uses it for His glory. I think the cover is perfect!