Perseverance

by

Bryan Craig

per·se·ver·ance

noun – persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7 NIV

 

If you are a self-feeder on God’s Word and an Abider, you will know that at times, God gives you a thought or a word, from multiple sources or conversations, to the point where you cannot ignore it.  When it happens 3 times in a row, I usually get it.  This past week, God has been speaking a word to me.  At first I thought this was a word for me to give to others, but I’m starting to realize it’s for ME.  But, as with all fruit He gives us, it’s meant to be shared.

The word is Perseverance.

Just a bit of context.  As I write this, my Dad is in ICU with pneumonia after COVID attacked his lungs.  He’s on a ventilator, holding steady, but they say this is a very slow process.  There are good days and bad days fighting this evil disease and its aftermath.  The waiting game is hard.

Today is also Election Day in the United States.  Some people think this day will change the long-term course of America and determine its survival as a country.  If you are like me and believe we should live by Biblical principles, it is very discouraging to see this country seeming to move further away from God’s standards every day.  I see this verse being lived out right in front of my eyes:  “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 20:5

On top of this, the hatred and division is disheartening.

Personally, I’ve been truly seeking the Lord in His Word, in Prayer and following The Spirit for 24 years.  I made a profession of faith at age 13, but it wasn’t until I was 30 that I began to understand that I was called to more than just being a Believer in Christ, but I wanted to follow Him.  So, I feel like I’ve been at this awhile, and yet, in some ways, I feel like I have SO far to go.

In all these cases, God knew what I needed most right now… Perseverance.

In the 2 Peter verse referenced above, Peter is giving us the steps we will experience on our faith journey.  I’ve written about this a few times because it is so amazingly profound.  It all starts with Faith, of course.  Without Faith, it is impossible to please God.  Then, our Faith begins to lead us to a better life.  We want to be good.  We begin to change some of our behavior.  Goodness or Virtue starts coming into our lives.  Then, we have a hunger to know more about this Faith we are attempting to live out.  We seek Knowledge.  This is where becoming a self-feeder on God’s Word becomes so important.  Then, the Word begins to shine a light on areas in our life that need to change.  God uses the Sword of His Word to prune away things.  We begin to see that we can put Him first, others second and ourselves last.  We also see that we do not have to make a practice of sin any longer.  We see that Self-Control is possible.

Then, Peter includes this word right in the middle of his faith progression plan…Perseverance.  Living out the first four steps are so important and require discipline, but in the early stages of our faith the exuberance and freshness of our faith can make it seem quick and easy.  But Peter knew that for mature believers, perseverance would be required.

The dictionary definition for perseverance says it is “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

I.E.

  • Continuing to pray with faith when it seems our prayers are not being answered. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • Disciplining ourselves to get up early and open the Word when discouragement makes us doubt its usefulness. (Psalm 119:105)
  • Not growing weary in doing good to others and looking for the good in them. (Galatians 6:19)
  • Believing that God is sovereign NO MATTER WHAT. (Proverbs 19:21)
  • Counting it joy when I face trials because I know that the testing of my faith develops perseverance and this will lead to God’s completeness in my life. (James 1:2-4)
  • Having grace for wayward children and waiting on them to return home. (Proverbs 22:6)
  • Asking the Lord daily to establish the work of my hands and direct my steps and then, walking my faith out in obedience. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 90:17)
  • Knowing that if I’m alive today, there is purpose and mission, and I will not worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)
  • Living lives of holiness and godliness as we wait on the day of the Lord. (2 Peter 3:11-13)

I think God wanted to remind me of this word, Perseverance, in my current situation, but I think it is a word for all of us in the days in which we live.  The days seem to be getting darker and we must not give up.  The world needs God and it needs us to show the way.

In Peter’s progression the next steps after Perseverance are:

Godliness…Brotherly Affection…Love

He is developing us into ambassadors who represent Him to this world in Godliness, Brotherly Affection and Love.  But we must persevere until the end.  We can always take heart knowing that God has a master plan and it’s not about this world:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12

” We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  Romans 5:3-4

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1b-2a

Be encouraged, my fellow Influencers.  Keep persevering to the finish line.