Is the Character of Perseverance working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Perseverance from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit an attitude of Perseverance in my daily life?
- How can I develop a better willingness to pursue Perseverance?
- What blocks an attitude of Perseverance from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Perseverance function better, stronger, and faster even in times of uncertainty and stress?
Here are positive examples from Scripture: Gen. 6:11-22; 29:22-28; 2 Chron. 32:1-8; Esther 7; Matt. 10:16-22; Acts 19:8-10; 26:19-23; Heb. 12:1-3
Here are negative examples from Scripture: Ecc. 9:11; Matt. 13:20-21; 26:69-75; Luke 16:22-31; 2 Tim. 4:9-10; Rev. 3:1-6, 14-18
Perseverance is having confidence in God so we trust Him in difficult situations and achieve our goals because we still see His grace and love. Thus, we are able to carry on with good ideas, a purpose, or our work in spite of setbacks, failures, or barriers. We can keep trying by being encouraging with Christ-like temperament. This includes not being faint with your relationships, but being able to persist and continue to deal with stress so we can accomplish what God calls us to do. Perseverance is hinged on hope and faith and focused on Christ, so we can go and grow through tough times for His glory. Our confidence is in Christ and His character-not in our self-esteem. Perseverance is also how God relates to us and enables us to continue in our state of grace so we live it out in our lives and walk with Christ to the end for our eternal reward!
(Matt. 11:28-29; 24:13; Rom. 5: 1-4; 8:26-39; 15:14-16; 1 Cor. 13:7; 15:58; Gal. 6:9; Phil. 1:6; 12-14, 25; 2 Tim. 1:7, 2:3; Heb. 12:1-3; James 1:4; 2 Peter 1: 5-11)
Resting on apathy, being idle, indolence, and just plain laziness are the opposites of perseverance. Have you heard the saying, "Quitters never win and winners never quit"? Or, "Perseverance is the secret for all triumphs"? Consider that not willing to persevere will cause us to give in and give up. It will discourage us from being involved in the life of our church and stops us from connecting deeper with others around us. We will not take responsibility; we shift blame and become argumentative. We will do little to seek solutions or engage in real, authentic work or even prayer. When we say, I cannot do it, this means either "I do not care" or "I refuse" and both say "I will not". This is a disease to the church and the cause of dysfunction in the family--a prime tool of Satan.
- How would you define Perseverance? What frustrates you in life?
- How would more Perseverance improve your relationships? What part does having a 'quitting' attitude play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers, and family?
- How can Perseverance help you set good attainable goals in work and family? How would this benefit your church?
- Do the pressures of life overwhelm you? How and why? What can you do to know when it is the right time to quit and when God is calling you to keep going?
- When have you been filled with an attitude of Perseverance the most?
- In what situation did you fail to have an attitude of Perseverance when you should have?
- What issue is in your life would improve with more of an attitude of Perseverance? What do you need to do to remove apathy or laziness?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Perseverance into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I act on God's call or achieve good goals with tenacity? How can I develop a better initiative, passion, and responsibility to carry on during a difficult time? Where is a proper resolve not functioning in my Christian walk or church, and what can I do about it?
The Bible names this trait Endures or Perseveres; it means one does not give up. It is similar to patience with tolerance of and fortitude to others added on. It means even accepting difficult situations without making demands or conditions. It is the possession of inner strength needed to remain in Christ along with staying power in order to accomplish God's will. Thus, we can have confidence in Him and not be faint with our call or situation so we are able to persist and continue to deal with stress in order that we can accomplish that to which God calls us (Mat. 27:14; Rom. 12:12; James 1:3; Heb. 12:1-3; 2 Pet. 1: 5-11).
Perseverance. This refers to the truth that real Christianity is more of a long-distance marathon than a mere short sprint, or a series of short sprits. Thus, we have a call to keep on at the efforts and virtue of faith-no matter what. This means we can have the endurance to persist in an idea, or an intention, or task despite any obstacles, as long it is according to God's will and precepts. We do this with faith and encouragement from others, being able to continue and commit to make them better. Then, we have staying power, as in "you can do it, too!" When we are in tough times, God may seem far away and no one seems to care about our plight or our concerns, But God is still there, caring! He will support you and care for you! We are to be focused on the goal ahead and be able to carry the task and ourselves through both the tough times and the joyous ones (James 5:7-12).
Keep in mind that the Christian life is one of struggle. We live in a fallen sinful world where things will not go our way. We face death, loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, business failures, problems at schools, sickness, and setbacks. We may spend a significant amount of time waiting in God's hallways for the next play or position. We haves life's unexpected moments which will collide with our expectations creating disappointments and even disillusionment. We must be willing to take God's love and promises to heart, reboot ourselves and have the tenacity to move on-moving on with the lessons learned, the relationships impacted to heart and keep our purposes aligned up to God's calls and precepts (Col.1:29; 1 Tim. 4:7-8; Heb. 12:3-4).
We are told that Tribulations will come and this refers to the hardships we face. God does not always cause them to go away; rather HE CARRIES us through and uses them to teach us maturity and character. Trials build faith and character, allowing us to be better used to glorify God. Trials are not a personal attack against us; rather, they allow God to work in us in a deep way to be of better use to Him, for others. We need not be frustrated or filled with worry when we have Christ. Trials work in favor for us and not against us. They actually promote spiritual growth (Micah 7:6-7; Luke 11:47-51; John 16:1-5; Acts 4:8; Rom. 8:28; 1 John 4:17-19; Rev. 2:10)!
This Character of Perseverance is honed by our confidence is in Christ and His character, not in our esteem. Thus, we can trust that God is indeed in control. He will not lead us astray or direct malevolence toward us. It helps to bear in mind God's timing, thus we need to trust God in His timing and not our own( John 17:1; Acts: 2:23; Gal. 4:4).
How do I make the Character of Perseverance take a hold in my life? The answer is about our focus and determined faith in our Lord. We need to see Jesus not as out to get us, or stifle us or chart us or toss us away; rather, we must see Him as LORD--see Christ as Who He is, sovereign with His gifts to us of undeserved love and grace. He is the God who transcends our sin to give us His Grace and empowers us to live a transformed life. This grace is our salvation. This grace is everything. It is our motivator to give us the joy to endure the harshness of life. The grace of His gives us the hope to persevere and make our lives purposeful and meaningful. All this is by seeing Him over the hardships and setbacks, so our gratitude comes through for Who and What He is.
He does this with His Spirit and His love! He gives us access to Himself. It is God's abiding love that keeps us attached in grace and purpose for His glory. Without our Lord, without God's abiding love, we would quickly fall away into our sin, forgetting who we are in Christ, just as the Israelites did throughout the OT (especially in Judges 2). The Holy Spirit is the glue who keeps us sticking together. He takes us who are His enemies by our sin and reconciles us so we are no longer enemies but are His friends (John 14-15).
What does this focus do for our Perseverance? We will see our true riches-the wonder of being a Christian and the love, hope, joy, and grace we have, not what we have lost and are waiting for. We have access to God anytime. If our access to God was based on our works, we would have no access. Through our Lord, in love from God, we have the access. We are His. We can have confidence in Christ. The response is to put Jesus first (John 15:12; 21:17; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; 3:9; 3 John 7) and let Him work in our lives.
Be an encourager. This is not just a spiritual gift; rather, we have a duty to do it, even when we do not feel like it. One of the aspects to make perseverance work in us is we need one another. We need encouragement and refreshment. So, make sure you have an accountability partner, close friend, mentor or pastor who can ask you the tough questions, give you advice and enrichment, even when you do not think you need it, because we all do. This is the support, using our spiritual gifts, all working as a team. This is the strength of the church; without it, we will fail. When we are encouraged, when we feel down-we are lifted up. The people with the gift of encouragement will be able to coordinate this; all Christians are able and called to do it. This also means to encourage people who are thinking of leaving the church to stay, and those who have left, to come back (Rom. 15:14; 1 Thess. 5:14; Eph. 4:15-16; Heb. 3:13)!
We have to see the magnificent aspect of what Christ has done for us! We need to see the joy (James 1:2-4) and the hope (Heb. 6:18-19) we are given. This is foundational to life and liberty. Without hope, we cannot persevere in life effectively as we would give up and become captivated by correction or oppressed into drudgery. This hope gives us the road to drive our maturity and spiritual growth on. As we go through life, we learn; when we learn, we grow. When we grow, we develop character and hone and improve our worship of Christ. This builds our personality and lets us be used better in the lives of others. Our character and what He is doing in our lives are our true treasures. This richness is so much more tangible and impressive than what the world offers. To take this hope to new levels and apply it with passion and conviction, we have to see who we are in Him. We must be careful that our faith is developed from God's nature and not ours! This hope will not just fuel our liberty but also our worship. We praise God not for what we are, but for what God has done, for what He IS. Do you realize what He has done in you?
The goal in being a Christian faced with trial is to keep on track and He will take care of us because we belong to Christ. Whatever we face and go through, our Lord is there and we are in His arms. And when we realize this fact, we can persevere through anything because our Lord, King and Creator of the universe is there carrying us through. Keep in mind that true happiness is like joy; it is not constrained to our circumstances. Rather, it is determined by how we choose to respond in attitude and will. How and why can we be happy? Because God loves us and cares for us, we can respond to His precepts and apply them to our lives. Abiding in Him brings happiness; living outside of Him brings doom and gloom. He does not bring it; on the contrary, we bring it by our disobedience, by being self-willed and not Christ-willed. The results of realizing we are approved by God will bring perseverance that builds our maturity, character, and faith.
Hope, faith, and love are a triad of primary virtues from which character and Fruit flow out, by the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation of the practice of the Christian life, our practical application and exhortation, and what it means to be transformed and renewed so we are changed and can be change agents in others' lives as well. Faith is also in community and mutual, as we each partake in Christ and need one another to grow further in our pilgrimage of Christian living. In so doing, we share Christ and therefore proclaim Him to those who do not know Him (1 Cor. 13; Col. 1:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:3; Heb. 3:7-19).
The one temptation that all will fail at with perseverance is the loss of hope! When you have the hope of Christ in you, you will persevere and be triumphant! Never lose your confidence of who you are in Christ! We can look to God for our help. We can admit we have a problem; we do have a sinful nature and will cave into sin. Thus, we have to admit our need and seek help from Him and others (1 Cor. 10:13; Gal. 5:17; 6:1-5; Heb. 4:15).
God calls us to persevere-no matter what. He is trustworthy, so we can be faith-worthy. We have Christ's empowerment and His assurance for living. We can hold onto Christ tightly, not wavering when times are bad or when we can't see where we are or are going. As we are encouraged to persevere, we can encourage others to trust in Christ, have hope for living, and endurance in life and/or in any opportunities or setbacks we face.
We are to concentrate on Jesus and not wander. He is our goal and Reason. Perseverance means to keep your eyes on the ball, on the target, to persist toward the goal of Jesus Christ. This also means allowing Christ to empower and inspire you as He is your main trainer and equipper. He is far greater than any mere encouragement from either outside or inside the church. We are to look to Him as our motivation, not circumstances or obstacles (Isa. 53: 10-12; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 1:3; 2:10).
If we just
live our lives with the attitude of how things affect "me" rather
than "others," then we are living with the devil, and not with God!
© 2012 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D., Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org