In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; . . . And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Reason to Keep Going
In the state house at Albany, New York, there is a small artifact that tells a big story. It’s a letter written by President Abraham Lincoln. The letter grants a full pardon to a soldier found guilty of desertion. The soldier’s name is Roswell McIntyre. The letter is dated October 4, 1864.
As you read the letter, you can’t help but notice some additional scribbling on the lower left of the page. It’s this additional scribbling that completes the story. This extra note on the letter is dated 1865. It reads, “Taken from the body of R. McIntyre at the battle of Five Forks, Virginia.”
That’s the story of Roswell McIntyre. He was a man guilty of desertion. But instead of disgrace and punishment, he received a full pardon from his president. He was so grateful for that pardon that he carried it with him for the rest of the war. It kept him going. It empowered him to stand and fight. It empowered him to remain a faithful soldier to the end.
It’s no accident that the Bible compares our lives as Christians to those of soldiers. The spiritual dangers are great. The temptation to desert our Lord can be fierce. And, truth be told, you and I must confess that there have been many times we have run away from following the Lord’s will for our lives. For such desertion, you and I deserve God’s abandonment.
But because of Jesus, we have received a full pardon instead. Because of the cross, our failures are washed away. Through faith in him, we are forgiven and not condemned.
Keep that pardon with you. Pull it out and read it every day. Remember who you are in your Savior. It will keep you going. It will keep you faithful to the moment he takes you home.
Dearest Jesus, in you I stand completely forgiven. Empower me to fight the good fight. Empower me to be faithful to the end. Amen.