Perseverance is described as “the patient endurance of hardship; persisting in a state or enterprise in spite of difficulties and discouragement…” according to the New International Version of my Life Application Bible published by Zondervan.
Several New Testament writers talk about perseverance. Here are a few of them:
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3
Rejoice in my sufferings? I’ll try.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Hebrews 10:36-39
Don’t shrink back? I’ll give it my best shot.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3 & 4
Consider it pure joy? I’ll never make it. Rejoicing is hard enough.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8
Make every effort?!? Okay. Okay, already. I get it. For crying out loud….
Perseverance….it’s not my best trait. BUT, it’s something I’ve come to realize is very necessary in my walk of faith. When I think of “patiently enduring” I almost have to laugh. Only at myself because I know Me so well. I’m not what you call an extremely patient person, but I do think I’m enduring…
enduring in the sense that I know God “will complete the good work He has started in me and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
I am not about to give up on myself!! I WANT to produce this quality of Christ that is so perfect and complete. I may not reach this perfection in my earthly body, but one day…ONE GLORIOUS DAY…I will see Jesus face-to-face and on that day I will be perfect. Until then, God is forever “working it out in me.”
Thank heaven for that!!
One of the prayers I frequently pray is Psalm 138:8,
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the works of Your hands.”
To think, there is actually hope that this perseverance I struggle to characterize in my imperfect, little self will actually produce something of great value and worth in God’s sight.
When I think of seasons of hardship and keep them in proper perspective I can actually find something to rejoice in.
When I think of seasons of difficulty and keep my eyes on Jesus I can actually believe and save myself from a lot of inner misery.
When I think of seasons of disappointment and keep my mind on Forever I can actually find great joy.
Because this moment in which I am living, in light of Forever, is very short.
Whatever I’m facing, whatever I’m patiently enduring, is but a speck when compared with all of eternity. These moments here on earth are really just one long season of waiting…
waiting for something bigger and better and more beautiful than anything I can possibly imagine.
And so I patiently wait…
God is all about patience, perseverance and perfection.
Over and over again He teaches me, trains me, and tests me
to build a faith within me that anchors me, ables me, and arms me
to take a good look inside of me, above me, and around me
that I might be a child of the King who keeps a proper perspective.
This world is full of people who have no saintly help, no earthly hope, no heavenly home to look forward to.
Deep within me is a longing for this heavenly home. God has placed it inside us all, but some don’t even know what this longing really is. It’s the place where Jesus is preparing our forever-ness.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Perfection takes time.
It can’t be rushed. There are many more who still need to be brought into the Kingdom. Jesus has many more glorious riches to bestow and more great rooms to build.
And this is why I can patiently endure. This is why I can persevere. This is why I can strive to rejoice, to not shrink back, to consider it pure joy, to make every effort. This is why I can wait…for those who seek Him to find Him, those who find Him to know Him, and those who know Him to love Him.
Because my life on this earth was meant to draw others to the Savior and, somehow, God uses my faithful perseverance through hardships, through difficulties, through disappointments to speak His Truth, shine His Light, and share His Love. Oh, yeah.
Yeah. Okay, already. I get it.
And I am so very grateful God never abandons the work of His hands.