Updated: Nov 22, 2018
Has there been a time in your life when you just gave up? A time when you felt that there was no point in continuing on the way you were going so you decided to let it go? If you have ever had an encounter like this, you’re not alone. We can all have moments of feeling like it’s just not worth pressing on … and perhaps sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and reassess a situation that may require a serious rethink.
However, when it comes to fighting the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12), we should never consider giving up. We are to be like Paul, who, instead of giving up when he was faced with relentless persecution, decided to concentrate on the inner strength that came from the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16) and remain steadfast in God’s ways.
James 1:3-4 …because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When our faith is tested, we are faced with the option to either give up, or trust God and press on. True faith develops perseverance – and this perseverance forms us into spiritual maturity so we’re not lacking anything but are complete in Him.
And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end…
Another word that strongly relates to perseverance is endurance. These two words go hand in hand as they both closely correlate with each other and describe what it is to hold on tightly and push ahead no matter what.
By your endurance you will gain your lives.
When we walk according to God’s ways and not our own, we will not only bear good fruit, but we will also be strengthened by His Spirit to patiently endure this journey with joy.
…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
We are unable to persevere on our own. It’s only with the strength of God’s Spirit that we’re able to endure through to the end. We have a choice though as to how we will live our lives: for ourselves, or for Christ. The believer’s position is to remain steadfast in the Lord, even during difficult times of trials and tribulations, pushing in to Him even harder and holding tightly as though you were hanging from a cliff and clinging on to a rope for survival. Even more important than the risk of physical death, whether we endure in the Lord or not will affect our eternal future. So we see how critical it is to be one who perseveres.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Perseverance yields godly characteristics. When we persevere through our suffering, this in turn will grow and develop our character, which brings hope that doesn’t disappoint.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
The Bible also reveals a very interesting aspect that pours forth from perseverance. This unique quality leads to godliness, which then induces kindness and love.
In fact, there are even more aspects to this equation: When we add virtue to our faith, this will begin a domino effect that results in highly-desired attributes, such as; knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
2 Peter 1:5-9
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, 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 and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever lacks these traits is nearsighted to the point of blindness, having forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Sometimes there are moments in the Christian’s life when one feels he isn’t getting anywhere – all the good he does seems like it’s in vain. No one’s listening or taking heed to the truth. Therefore the believer can end up coming to the conclusion that it’s not reaping any profitable results, so he becomes weary of doing good. However, this is the time, my friends, when we should press forward in hope – aligning our sights on the things of Heaven and not of Earth, trusting that God has it all in His capable hands. We must never give up – even when we’re not seeing any good outcome – because our faith is not in what we see (2 Corinthians 5:7), but in the Lord, who has promised to carry us through and will bring a time of reaping in due season.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
And when we press on and walk in righteousness with our hearts seeking God’s glory and honour, as well as trusting in Christ for our salvation, the Lord promises to give us eternal life with Him.
Romans 2:7 To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life.
Now let’s remember that the good works we do for the Lord are not done in order to ensure our place in Heaven, for this would be a works-based salvation – which is unbiblical. As we know, salvation is a free gift that comes from God alone by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). The good works that Paul is speaking of in Romans 2:7 refers to the believer’s changed heart that leads to changed actions. So these ‘works’ are in actuality, righteous acts that come through the Spirit as part of the supernatural transformation process of a Christian.
One will not walk in righteousness if he has not been made righteous.
True conversion results in genuine works that the Lord has prepared for the believer (Ephesians 2:10).
False conversion results in self-created works that are like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6).
Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere, so that after you have done God's will, you will receive what He has promised.
The one who wins the race is the one who perseveres.
It is only those who are the Lord’s that will persevere to the end; for it cannot be done without God’s help, and it’s unappealing to those who don’t have a heart for Christ.
Matthew 24:13 But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
Let’s pray to the Lord this day and ask Him to help us to persevere through all our struggles in this life – knowing that without Him, we have nothing and no-one else (John 6:68). Whether it be persecutions, griefs, family difficulties, financial problems or whatever, it’s imperative to remember that Christ did not die on the cross so we could have a nice easy life – He died on the cross so we could be freed from our sin and have eternal salvation.
God is our refuge and strength and He will always help us get to where He wants us to go (Psalm 46:1). As we endure to the end, let’s keep our focus on the things above, not on the things that are on the Earth (Colossians 3:2).
‘All those who are truly born again will be kept by God's power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.’
~ John Macarthur
-- By Jenny Ayling
This article was written to form part of the series, 'Imitate'. Containing 45 sessions, this thorough series intends to reveal the characteristics found in a disciple of Jesus. The original article, 'Imitate', would be the best place to begin your journey in discovering the qualities of a follower of the Messiah of Israel.