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The Integrity of Pressing On, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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February 11, 2022 7:05 am

The Integrity of Pressing On, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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February 11, 2022 7:05 am

Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity

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Skip Heitzig
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Greg Laurie
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Chuck Swindoll
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Today on Insight for Living, from Chuck Swindoll. When difficulty comes our way and we're staring face to face with an unwanted challenge, sometimes it's tempting to wave a white flag and surrender.

We don't want to, but at times, quitting feels like our only option. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll teaches from Philippians chapter 1, where the Apostle Paul describes the far better alternative. He said, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on.

Are you dealing with an issue today that makes you feel like giving up? Chuck titled today's message, The Integrity of Pressing On. We're going to read of something rather remarkable that occurred that ties into the sufferings of Paul. He's in Arabia.

He's isolated. He learned something of that. We wish we had details. Not only do scholars not know exactly when that occurred, we don't know exactly what he did while he was there. I'm suggesting that what we're going to read in chapter 12 happened around that time, maybe while in the country of Arabia. Look at what we're going to read here.

This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. I was caught up in the third heaven 14 years ago. He waits 14 years before he tells about this being caught up into the third heaven. Whether he's in the body or out of the body, he doesn't know.

Only God knows. But while caught up into paradise, verse 4, I heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. In fact, they are so amazing, the experience was worth boasting about.

No one else had had such experiences. He says in verse 5, that experience is worth boasting about, but I'm not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses.

What an interesting statement. You say that after you've suffered. You say that after years of suffering. I'm going to boast only about my weaknesses. You see, if I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so because I'd be telling the truth, but I won't do it because I don't want anyone to give me the credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message.

Is that a great statement or what? I want no credit. I just want to live my life.

I want to live it in such a way that it is irrefutable, that it is honest, that it has integrity. And I also want to add, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God, so as to keep me from becoming proud, look at this, I was given a thorn in the flesh. You may have heard of that, but not known where it was located in the scriptures.

There you have it. 2 Corinthians 12, verse 7. Whatever it was, and no one knows for sure, all sorts of speculations had been made about the thorn in the flesh, but it was a painful experience, so painful that the Lord gave it to him to keep him from being proud. And so he prays, look at this next verse, three different times I begged the Lord to take it from me. And each time he said, my grace is all you need.

So three times I asked to be relieved, three times I heard no. The Lord said to me, my grace is all you need, for my power works best in weakness. That's why he said, if I boast in anything, it'll be in my weakness, because that's where I can tell you about the grace of God. So now I'm glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

That's why I take pleasure, look at this verse, verse 10, take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in trouble, troubles that I suffer for Christ, for when I'm weak that I'm strong. When he's weak he also grows deeper, his beliefs become his convictions as he presses on. He wrote to the Corinthians, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Hear the words, press on, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. First Corinthians 15, 58, he pressed on, he went right on, he stayed at it, he didn't quit, he didn't hold back, he didn't complain.

There's integrity in living a life like that. Did you know that in the Philippians account, which I read to you earlier, do you know when he wrote that along with three other letters, Ephesians and Colossians and Philemon? There's a reason scholars call those the prison epistles.

He wrote them while in chains, in chains. During a two-year house arrest, he's manacled to a Roman soldier. Day after day, week after week, he doesn't take walks outside. If you came to see Paul, you came to him at the house.

He didn't come to see you. Two years awaiting an audience with Nero, and during that time, it came to Paul's mind, I've got a captive audience here, emphasis on captive. He chained himself to me, so I'm going to talk to him about Jesus, and he can't get away.

I love the thought. I want to tell you about the Savior. He changed my life.

He can change yours. And did you know that the whole Praetorian Guard, the palace guard, those closest to the Emperor, his SS troops, if you will, came to Christ. Paul may not have had a chance to say all he wanted to say to Nero about the Savior, but he left his emissaries there, one soldier after another, after another, after another.

Can you imagine the barracks of the Praetorian Guard? Hey, if you had to listen, yeah, I've got duty with him tomorrow. I got to listen to him again tomorrow. And finally, he just wears them down, just wears them down.

I love that. You know, it's kind of evangelism by force. That's Philippians, and it's a letter of joy.

The beautiful part of this is that he's pressing right on through it. Now why do we suffer like that? Why are you going through the things you're going through?

Why are you going through such tough times? Second Corinthian letter gives us three reasons right there in chapter one. First, that we might be able to comfort others in the same kind of suffering we went through. Second, that we might not trust in ourselves. When you suffer, you have to lean on others to get you through it. So we learn in suffering not to lean on ourselves. And third, we might learn in everything to give thanks.

All three are right there in First Corinthians one, Second Corinthians one, one through 11. He gives them to us one, two, three, just like that. I love it. Several times a year, I'm invited to Dallas Seminary to speak in chapel. That happened to me this last week, and I had a chance to talk to the students.

I love doing that. They're not chained there, but some of them choose to come and I have a chance to talk about life as it really is and ministry as they will face it. And I chose to approach my talk in a whole new way this time. And it wasn't an original thought with me. I talked to them about learning lessons in difficult times.

I called it, don't miss the messages in your misfortunes. I got the idea from a commencement exercise, not with graduates of some graduate school, but with ninth graders. Get this, an unusual graduation group, ninth graders going into 10th grade, unusual speaker, the chairman, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, was the speaker to these ninth graders, a little modest group. And John Roberts spoke to them. How in the world did they get John Roberts to do that? Well, one of the ninth graders is John Roberts' son. So he says to him one evening at supper, hey, Daddy, we're going to have a graduation coming up.

Would you speak? And how can even a chief justice turn down his son? He says, sure, but I'm going to talk on something different. And he turned the subject on its head. Normally commencement speakers tell everybody how wonderful they are, and they pour all of this gobbledygook on everyone, and you're going to make a great splash in life, and you're going to become, you know, somebody significant.

Not John Roberts. He talked to them about things that would go against them in life, and his hope was that they would learn lessons from them. He gave them six wishes for them. Listen to them.

I love them. Number one, he said to the graduates, ninth graders, from time to time, I hope you'll be treated unfairly so that you'll come to know the value of justice. My second wish for you, I hope you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Number three, I hope you will be lonely from time to time from time to time so that you will never take your friends for granted.

Aren't these great? Number four, when you lose, as you will occasionally, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. Number five, I hope you will be ignored so that you will learn the importance of listening. Number six, I hope you will have just enough pain for you to understand compassion.

He added, whether you wish these things or not, they're all going to happen to you. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to learn the lessons, the messages, and your misfortunes. I feel the same way today as I speak to you in this difficult time in which we're living.

I began my message today with 13 words. Believing important truths is valuable. Standing on them in tough times is invaluable. And then I said that's when mere beliefs turn into convictions. So it's time for me to ask you, are you just excited about getting new beliefs? Or have you turned your beliefs into convictions so that you're ready and willing when necessary to stand alone as you will have to do if you've not done already?

I even talked about Dr. Walvoord's statement to the students. I fear we may be graduating too many students with a lot of beliefs but not enough convictions. What are your convictions? What would you stand for if no one else in the room stood for them? What do you rely on when everything else breaks loose? The bottom drops out. You lose the one that meant the most to you.

You lose the one that meant the most to you. Hardship becomes your MO. It won't be your beliefs that'll get you through that. It'll be your convictions. I know this and I am convinced of this. I will stand firm and I don't care if anyone else around me is standing for this. I will stand here. Who knows but someday we will be there and the times will be so tough that unless we press on we'll have to cave in.

This is a practice session right now. These days may be hard but they're going to get harder. In the last days, difficult times will come.

2 Timothy 3 tells us, one of my mentors used to translate that savage times will come. Who knows if we will be invaded as a nation? Who knows if wrong people will take charge and take control and our liberties be taken from us?

Who knows but what some may wind up their lives incarcerated for doing what is right? It may be you. It may be your children.

It may be your grandchildren. These things we're learning about integrity, these are not just sermons to deliver and hear and go about our business. Next week we're going to look at Paul's words in 2 Timothy 4, all of which are dungeon talk.

Because following those words, the axe fell on the back of his neck and severed his head from his shoulders. In the last days of his life he writes, I've fought the good fight, I've finished the course, I've kept the faith. I want that for you. I want these words to mean more to you than just something to put in your notes or to remember as interesting beliefs. I want these to turn into your convictions. So I wish for all of us tougher times, harder days, that we might learn the integrity of pressing on.

I wrestled for quite some time the other morning, got up early, it was about 3.30. Until about 5.30 I was trying to answer the question, what's involved in pressing on? I've used those words multiple times in my talk and I thought, I owe that to you. What do I mean by pressing on? Here are the one, two, three, four, five lines I came up with. When you press on, you rid your life of distractions. Second, you spend your time and energy on essentials. Third, you set your mind to endure any test, any trial. Fourth, you focus your attention on goals and priorities as set forth in the Scriptures. And fifth, you discipline yourself to stay at it in order to finish well.

That's what pressing on includes. I'll give those to you again next week. But they're only words, they're only my words. Until they're applied, until that time comes, they'll never become your convictions.

And the things you pass on to your children and grandchildren and friends. Bow with me, will you please? Let's just sit quietly together at this serious moment. If you've never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, much of this is kind of a joke to you. There's no way you're going to press on in any way. You're going to give in as soon as the going gets rough or you'll try to hang in there in the flesh and you'll run out of energy and hope. The only way you can make it all the way to death is if you have the Savior, the strength that He can empower you with to stay strong even when the going becomes unbearable.

And times turn from tough to terrible. So turn to Christ right now. This is your moment to do so. Don't wait. He offers you His life and His strength and power, His forgiveness, even His eternal home.

You can't lose. And if you've been playing around with your faith and sort of in and out, sort of disinterested and passive at times, it's time you get serious. If not now, when?

I suggest it begins now. Thank you, Father, for speaking to us in terms we can understand. Thank you for a model like Paul, not a perfect man, far from it. He even says that he hasn't attained anywhere near perfection, but a man who pressed on.

In season and out of season, he stayed at it. Give us the temerity to do that, the strength of character, the determination, the heart, the convictions. May we stop mouthing our faith and start living it. May it become such a reality that it surprises no one that we belong to the eternal family of God, because of the way we live. In the process of keeping us strong, I pray that you'll also keep us compassionate. As we grow in determination, may we also grow in grace. As we embrace the truth, may we also embrace mercy. Give us patience in dealing with the difficulty of life and people who are hard to get along with. Guide us, I pray, through these difficult days that we might represent you well in the days to come. Help us, our Father, to press on. In Jesus' name, I pray.

Everyone said, amen. You're listening to the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. On today's edition of Insight for Living, he's completed message number 11 in a 12-part teaching series called Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity. And if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at Then as we conclude our Bible study today, I'll remind you this 12-part series has never been shared before on Insight for Living.

Although this program has been carried on radio stations for more than 42 years, we're blessed to offer our listening audience fresh new studies in God's Word. This heritage is due in part to the grateful friends who financially support Insight for Living. And if you're among those who give, we're deeply grateful for your generosity. In fact, we represent thousands around the world who call and write to thank us, knowing that their gratitude is really directed toward you. We couldn't provide these programs without your partnership. So as God prompts you to join the family of supporters today, we invite you to connect with us. You can call us if you're listening in the U.S.

Dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to slash donate. And then a quick preview of what's coming up soon. Chuck will introduce a practical series on relationships called Marriage from Surviving to Thriving. So make it a point to listen because Chuck will be teaching us about the biblical disciplines that lead to a strong marriage. And then finally, as a compliment to your worship experience in your local church on Sunday mornings, remember you can also celebrate with Chuck Swindoll by viewing the worship service of Stonebriar Community Church online. This not only includes Chuck's full-length sermon, but the sacred music and congregational singing as well. You'll find all the instructions for video streaming the weekly worship service at slash Sundays. Join us when Chuck Swindoll describes what he calls the integrity of finishing well. Monday on Insight for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-06 15:37:48 / 2023-06-06 15:45:46 / 8

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