Perseverance or patient endurance means we will not be swerved from our deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith in God even when faced with the greatest trials and sufferings (Hebrews 10:36)
We use phrases like “Stand your ground”; “Stick with it”; “Never quit” and “Never give in” to encourage ourselves and others to persevere.
How can we grow in perseverance?
- James 1;2-4 ESV – “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
- Romans 5:4 – “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
We will develop perseverance through various trials and suffering. Or said another way: “Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” (from the web)
Jesus understood suffering and He told us to expect to suffer:
- 1 peter 2:21-25 – 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
- 1 Peter 4:1-2 – Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God
Since Jesus also experienced suffering, He is able to help us when we are being tested (Hebrews 2:18).
The first century Christians whom Peter was writing this message of adding perseverance to their knowledge also understood about suffering. Listed below are a few examples.
- 1 Peter 1:6 – “they suffer in all kinds of trials.”
- 1 Peter 2:12 – “They are falsely accused, blamed for things they never did.”
- 1 Peter 2:18-20 – “They are subjected to brutal working conditions.”
- 1 Peter 3:13-17 – “They are punished for doing good.”
- 1 Peter 4:4-5 – “They are abused and insulted when they won’t join the sin of others.”
- 1 Peter 4:12 – “They are punished for following Jesus.”
- 2 Peter 2:1 – “They are surrounded by false teachers trying to mislead them.”
- 2 Peter 3:3 – “They are mocked by neighbors who find their faith naive and deluded.”
- 2 Peter 3:9 – “They are disappointed with God, Who seems to be slow in keeping His promises.”
Like these early Christians we face suffering and hardships that leave us with a choice to make each time.
- Do we take the easy way out and deny that we know Christ or act like we don’t know Him?
- OR will we stand our ground relying on Christ who can strengthen us in all things (Philippians 4:13) to make the right and harder choice.
Keep in mind the fact that we have a real enemy, Satan, and he wants to know what it will take for us to give up – and he will try anything and everything for this purpose (1 Peter 5:8). Just as Peter learned the hard way, we must keep our focus on Jesus or we will give in to Satan’s ploys (Matthew 14:28-31).
What about if we slip and fall or if we make the wrong choice this time – remember repentance – we tell Jesus that we are sorry for our wrong, sinful choice and ask Him to take our hand and lift us back up out of the mud so we can progress forward towards the mark of our high calling. .
Let’s make the decision to persevere through the storms in our lives with Jesus so we can receive the benefits of perseverance that Peter shares with us in his letter:
- It refines our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7)
- It perfects our hope (1 Peter 1:8-9; 1:21)
- It weans us from sin (1 Peter 4:1-3)
- It deepens our intimacy with Jesus (1 Peter 4:12-13)
- And, It will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8).
When it’s all done, if we persevere Jesus will say to us “Well done! My good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21).
Father God I know that I need a great deal more Holy Spirit strength in this area of patient endurance – not only towards the circumstances that cause suffering but also in my relationships with others. The easy road of quitting or giving in is just that easy, however, it leaves one empty – so I would like to ask that You would help each one of us to grow in perseverance and in trusting and relying on You. In Jesus’ name amen