Happy snowy Sunday friends! I hope you’ve all stayed safe and warm through the snowstorm. If you missed the last post, you can read some thoughts on self-control here. Next up on our journey through 2 Peter 1:5-7 is perseverance.
What it Is
Strong’s defines perseverance here as “endurance, steadfastness, patient waiting for.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon explains the word as, “the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” This trait is about not giving up on something no matter what happens.
Jesus describes some of the ways that Christians will be persecuted in Luke 21. After this discussion he says in verse 19, “By your patience possess your souls.” Our perseverance is what keeps us going when life gets hard. We are told in Revelation 2:10, “…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” There may be times it seems easier to give up, but the gift of salvation is promised to us if we don’t. Perseverance requires us to be totally committed to following God. It isn’t accidental; it takes work.
What it Does
Perseverance allows us to remain in the Christian walk so that we can “be all that we can be.” In Luke 8, Jesus tells a parable about a man who sowed seed. In verse 15, he explains, “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” Not giving up allows us to continue in the work until it brings about results.
One example of a man who demonstrated patience is Job. He went through losing his family, health, possessions, and having those closest to him recommend he curse God and die. There were times Job questioned why he was going through his suffering. In Job 7:20 he says, “Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself?” Job was certainly not in a good frame of mind at this point.
However, we are told of him in James 5:11, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” Job was upset. He let it be known he was miserable and even said that God was targeting him. What Job didn’t do was give up. Questions are one thing; turning away from the Christian life is another.
How We Get It
Like all the characteristics in this list in 2 Peter, perseverance is something that we can grow in. Romans 5:3 teaches us, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.” We noticed earlier that perseverance helps us to get through times our faith is tested, and in turn if we do not give up, it makes us stronger.
James 1:2-3 teaches us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” We can rejoice in our suffering because it helps us to mature as Christians. The more we endure in this life the more we see that God is faithful and will never leave us. This is Philippians 4:13 in action: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The picture at the top of this blog is from a vacation my husband and I took in 2013. We went to Myrtle Beach, and one of the places we went to be touristy was Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. To get from the beach to the fort, we had to cross this absolutely, positively, terrifying bridge. We didn’t know it was coming, and we didn’t like it, but we could either go across it or give up and have a meltdown (and there was no emergency lane in which to melt).
As you may have guessed, since I’m here nearly three years later to write this post, we made it. I took a picture on the ferry on our way to the fort to document our adventure. On a side note, we actually crossed the bridge three times that day due to a mischievous GPS unit. I did threaten throwing the thing in the Charleston Bay multiple times, but I refrained. Life is a little like that bridge. We don’t get warnings when trials are coming, and there may be times that we are terrified, but we only have two choices: just keep going or give up.
The saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, is certainly true. Christians, however, can be assured that anything that we go through in this life, as long as we rely on God, we can get through and maintain the faith. We aren’t promised protection from struggles; it’s actually the opposite. God doesn’t put us in a bubble. He enables us thrive in any circumstance. Perseverance is for when times are not good. Especially in those times, let’s remember what God has already done for us, and even if our faith is shaken, to not let it be overturned.
May the Lord bless and keep you,
Do you have a story of perseverance or a thought you want to share? Chime in! 🙂