Perseverance: The ability to push through when doubt, insecurity, fear, hardship, and extended suffering, are about to derail us. Perseverance is the ability to persist in spite of discouragement, obstacles, and the toughest challenges.
There are two types of perseverance: worldly perseverance, when we face the everyday trials of this world; and kingdom perseverance, where we face persecution for our Christian beliefs. Let me explain the difference and why the ability to persevere is important in our lives.
Now I’m not talking about the persistence we need to push through with a boring, dull, tiresome task. These are usually short term and if we do give up, there may be consequences but not a great loss. I have a few sewing projects sitting in my cupboard I could think of as examples.
Then there are other instances we can all look back on when we gave up too soon; stories where we didn’t carry through with the plan, apply for the job, complete the qualification, or stay on the diet.
Reasons for this could be:
- Changed minds
- A goal that was not important enough
Whatever the reason, we can regret missed opportunities and lament over what-ifs, and had we persevered our lives might have taken a better or worse path, but this is not a post about that type of perseverance either.
We are getting somewhere when we start to consider the tenacity and willpower required by professionals and sportsmen to achieve great success and reach new heights. The perseverance I’m really referring to is the mental strength necessary to overcome those seemingly endless challenges that drain your energy, and demand sacrifice, optimism, hard work, effort, and dedication.
This is about the times when we ask the question, “God, where are You in all of this?” when what you are facing is so overwhelming, you start to believe that God has forgotten you. What does it take to get through?
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” ~ Christopher Reeve
Persevering with God at the Center
First of all friends, God does not forget us. He is fully invested in us, each one of us. Always. Even in the fire. Especially in the fire. It is in these trying times when our endurance is tested to the limit, that we learn how to surrender and put God in the center of what we are facing.
Sometimes it takes us a while. We are so used to doing things in our own strength that we forget there is a God who is willing, able, and waiting for us to hand the steering wheel over to Him. These are the times when I have experienced firsthand, the Father’s heart, and just how much He desires to help the children He loves so dearly.
Make Him your first priority friends, you don’t have to fight life’s battles on your own.
Perseverance in Our Spiritual Lives
Then there is the perseverance that the Bible tells us will lead us to eternity.
A theological definition of perseverance means to “continue in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.” In essence, it means to never lose faith, to never stop believing, no matter what the world throws at you. God expects us to complete the race that He has set out before us because He knows that we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.
It is not just about surviving, it is about thriving, and emerging stronger than before because our eyes are set on heaven.
God’s agenda is often not our agenda. We want quick fixes, He wants it done thoroughly. The Bible often tells us to persevere. Why? Because there is a greater call to persevere and not give up faith. We see insurmountable challenges, God sees the bigger picture that we are not aware of. He knows things that we don’t and He is all about perfecting us and completing the job.
As the master of a fine skill, the craftsman knows when the work is ready. God knows the ending and the plans and purposes for our lives. This is why we have to turn to Him, surrender to Him explicitly, and trust in His timing. He doesn’t drag our trials out so that we can fail. He does it to ensure we reach our best. To be more like Him and to receive our reward in eternity.
Perseverance in the Body of Christ
Friends, we need to be vigilant. There are many Christians, leaders included, who are giving up their faith when enticed into a life of ease, entertainment, minimal accountability, and perceived freedom. God warned us this would happen in the end times.
This life is our training ground, the place where we are taught and refined. For it is during the deepest, darkest, longest trials, that we grow and learn the most. A perfected faith stores up treasures in heaven, unseen for now. None of us want to hear it, but we need trials in our lives.
What do Trials teach us?
It is hard to admit that we need trials. Wouldn’t everybody like easy, comfortable lives, free from pain and suffering? Unfortunately, that is not how we grow. Here are a few attributes that we gain when we are refined by God.
- (Self) Discipline
- Trust in God
Aren’t these all the things God wants us to be? These are qualities that cannot be learned from a book, they have to be learned in the lecture halls of experience.
Why the need to learn Perseverance?
As sons and daughters of Christ, hardship is a given. We need to be joyful in our sufferings because ultimately, the situation will teach us perseverance, which will result in hope and a mature and complete character.
Think of hardship as discipline. We are God’s children which means He is here to teach and train us in His ways. If there is sin in your life, God will ensure He does what is necessary to abolish it. Your righteousness is more important to Him than your comfort. The quicker it takes for you to understand this, and the sooner you surrender completely, the swifter will be the outcome.
Those that continue steadfastly and endure tenaciously, are the people who inspire us not to give up when we are on the brink of doing just that. You don’t have to be famous, but you can always be the beacon of hope to those around you.
Why do we find it hard to persevere?
Besides the fact that nobody likes to suffer, it is hard to continue fighting when we lose sight of the goal. For it is then that we lose hope.
In order to push through the hard miles, we need to have a powerful image of our goal or something important to work towards; something that offers us a reward at the end. To reach the end and achieve that target, we need a clear idea of what we are striving for, and it has to be important enough to drive our efforts. We expect to see results.
When we are struggling financially, with our health, waiting for a partner, or facing challenges with kids at school, we don’t know what the outcome looks like and that makes persevering hard because we are not striving towards something specific. We are more likely to give up in these circumstances.
We may lose sight of the end result or we may never have had a clear vision to begin with. That is when we falter or want to give up. Resilience is something that is ever diminishing in this quick-fix world of ours because we want instant gratification. It is simpler to take the easy road and move on to the next thing that looks more enticing, or quicker to achieve than to hold out and reap the reward.
How to Persevere in Faith
We live in trying and challenging times and it seems we are called to endure hardship more than ever. It may not seem like it, but being called to persevere is a blessing and we need to keep our eyes focused on what God has promised us. You never know when a breakthrough is imminent, but God does and He will sustain you for as long as it takes.
“Consider it pure joy when you face trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
- Persevere in the will of God to receive His promises. Often we give up too soon, and then blame God because we have not received His promises. Keep your eyes on Him friends.
- Equip ourselves with knowledge (God’s word) and practice self-control in adhering to His commands.
- Continue to do what is good and pleasing and stay true to His word, not swayed by the influence of the world.
- Show love in times of trials and live in the moment, not worrying about tomorrow.
- Perseverance achieves a purpose by providing a harvest of righteousness and peace.
- Involve God in every area of your life
- Accept that you can’t speed up the process.
- Know that we are on God’s clock and not our own.
- Face your fears knowing that you can do all things through the God who strengthens you
Teaching kids to persevere
As single mothers, we can be influenced by the guilt we feel for the situation we have caused for our kids. We are quick to jump in and do things for them when we see them struggle because it is natural to want to protect and nurture them. This is not helpful, for them or ourselves. It exhausts us as parents and prevents our children from learning valuable lessons.
Teach your kids to persevere and only step in when absolutely necessary. They need to boost their own confidence and learn to be independent of you. God doesn’t step in as our parent and do the job for us, and neither should we.
Position yourself for breakthrough
How do we position ourselves for a breakthrough? We persevere in doing good and we don’t give up; we follow His direction and immerse ourselves in His word.
In my own experience, I have found that it is often when we are in that desperate place on our knees, when all hope is seemingly lost, that we surrender to God. That is when He breaks through. That is when we reap the sweetest harvest.
What are you struggling to cope with right now? Do you feel as if you are ready to give up?
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