That word was on my mind all day one day last week. I wasn’t sure why! I looked up scriptures on perseverance. I looked it up in the dictionary. The definition was: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Hmm. Not exactly what we like to hear right? Not the persevering part so much, but the difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. We think, wouldn’t things be much easier if we didn’t have to have those things? There are times we don’t. Sometimes our lives are chugging away just like we planned with nary a bump in sight. Not often. But sometimes! Don’t we enjoy those times? And that’s OK. The Lord wants us to have life more abundantly, and to enjoy it.
However, when you read the Word there are so many scriptures on perseverance, diligence, patience, endurance etc that we know life is not always going to be easy.
Maybe those easy times are a time of rest. To get our bearings. See where we have been and where we want to go.
If we didn’t have opportunities to exercise our faith we would be stagnant. Not have any reason to change. I’m not saying that the Lord is the one causing all the above issues. The Lord does not give us discouragement for example. In fact there are at least 17 scriptures in the Bible with the phrase Be strong and of good courage. We can’t be of good courage and be discouraged at the same time! Nowhere in the Bible does He tell us to be discouraged.
One scripture I particularly like is Psalm 27:14: Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
I would say waiting is a big part of perseverance. In that scripture as we are waiting on the Lord its not a passive state. We are not just sitting there saying OK Lord, here I am waiting for this or that to come to pass. While we’re waiting for things to work out; at the same time we are keeping ourselves from being discouraged. Keeping our mind fixed on the Lord. Carrying on. Persevering.
We are growing while we are persevering. 2 Pet 1:5-9 tells us we are growing in our faith: But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
So, as we are adding those qualities to our faith we are becoming fruitful. Check out verse 9. Wow. Not good to be lacking in those things. So then, it stands to reason that perseverance is good for us. It helps us develop character. We won’t be unfruitful.
I have to confess there have been many times in my life that I did not persevere. If it was too hard, or I didn’t like it, I quit. Not some of my finer moments. I think back on some of them every now and again and wonder what I missed. Maybe the Lord had me in some of those situations because He had something for me to do there. And I missed it by quitting.
Needless to say I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to persevere. I want to know what the Lord wants me to do in any given situation. And to not do it unless and until I know that’s what He wants me to do. And once I know He’s called me to do something, I want to see it through to the end. When I get to the end of my life I want to be able to say like Paul did in 2 Tim 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Even with those intentions do I still miss it sometimes? Yep. You bet. But not as often. If I do its usually because I was too busy and didn’t take the time to listen. Or too impatient to wait for the Lord’s timing.
In the end, as with anything the Lord asks us to do, we are blessed when we obey. Such as what James tells us in 1:12: Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
That’s the kind of blessings I want. Check out some scriptures yourself on the blessings of perseverance. Exercise your faith today and persevere!