The word takes me back to my days as an athlete and makes me think of hard practices and the sprints, wall sits or push-ups we had to do before coach called it a day. There were times we thought we couldn't do it and times we wondered how we actually finished. It was hard, your body hurt and pulse pounded, but yet as an athlete who wanted to win and was driven to do what the coach said, you did it.
Trials in life make those days on the court look pretty easy. I'd take an infinite number of sprints compared to the grief that accompanies losing a loved one. I'd choose countless push-ups over the hurt that comes with watching a love one suffer. Screams from a coach for two hours are easier to listen to than grumbles from a child or co-worker day after day.
I say all that and a new thought comes to mind...life may be harder, but it's reward is so much better. Sure in sports you can break records, win championships and get awards, but eventually it all fades away. Life brings roles where we impact others and make a difference. Faith allows us to influence others for eternity.
It's important for athletes to respect, obey and work hard for their coach, but friend it is vital that we as daughters of the King do the same for God. When life gets hard, we must press on. When living out our faith is difficult, we need to persevere. Like I said at the beginning, I'm guessing you know this...we often understand the what, but struggle with the how. If that's the case for you, I invite you to join me for a short study on Perseverance.
I pray God uses your time in His Word to speak to your heart, to give you wisdom and offers encouragement as He leads you to persevere. Let's pray...
Dear Heavenly Father,
You never change and I'm grateful, but sometimes my life does. Situations happen, events take place, sickness comes, relationships break, my thoughts run....these can all be hard. Sometimes I'm tempted to quit, others I feel like I might explode. Things don't go my way, and I want to stop, but Lord I know that's not an option. Your Word tells me to press on, I want to finish the race, I need to persevere. Will You use this time to help me learn about that so I can run hard after You no matter what comes my way. I thank You for your living and active Word and praise You for what You are about to teach me. Help me know You more and serve You better. In Jesus' Name...Amen
What does it mean to persevere? Why is it necessary? How do we do it?
Where in your life right now do you need to persevere?
The Greek word for perseverance is proskarteresis and there are many definitions. Here are some phrases pulled from Bible dictionaries - steadfastness, earnest toward, constantly diligent, abiding under, energetic resistance, endure in trials, not giving up, no quit attitude, fight to finish, staying power, long-term perspective, comes from confidence in God's power and faithfulness, linked to hope.
Which of these speak to you most? Why?
My kids are often more willing to do something if they know why it needs to be done and even as adults I think we find that helpful. Take some time and look at the following verses...what do they tell us about why we need to persevere?
Romans 2:6-7, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 1 Timothy 4:15-16, Hebrews 10:35-36, James 1:12
Once we've established the why, we can move on to the how. It's one thing to know we should do something, but another to understand how to do it. How do these scriptures help answer that question?
Prov. 3:5-6, 2 Corinth. 12:9-10, Gal. 6:9, Col. 1:10-12, 2 Thes. 3:11-13, Heb. 12:1-3
Friend, we've looked at the why and the how's, which is a great place to start, but the Bible has more wisdom to share with us. As I was studying perseverance, I started seeing a pattern - there were many "P's" that helped me with the process of persevering. These "P's" apply when it's a hard, life-changing situation or the daily grind of life. If you need to persevere to overcome sin or fight a battle in your mind, apply these priniciples. Motherhood have you down or marriage leave you defeated, these's "P's" will help you do what we need to do.
P’s of Perseverance
Pray – Hebrews 4:16, 1 Thes. 5:16-18
Prayer must be our go to response...whether we need to confess because we blew it or gave up, ask for strength to press on or thank God for what He's doing prayer connects our hearts with God's. We must go to Him and ask for what we need while remembering who He is!
Praise – Psalm 118:24, Daniel 2:23, Eph. 1:3
Friends, no matter how life changes, God never does...He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. No matter what is happening in our life, He is worthy of our praise. He deserves our praise, but we need it because praising our Maker reminds us of who He is.
Prepare – James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5
Friends, when things are good and life seems easy, we don't think about persevering, but perhaps we should. Scripture tells us in this world we will have trouble, so stop right now and decide what you will do when it comes. Vow to walk with God, determine to trust in His promises. Look back at past struggles are their patterns in your struggle to persevere? Go back to the first "P" and pray about that.
Patience – Proverbs 14:29, Romans 12:12, 1 Peter 2:18-21
As I studied this topic with our local Titus24U group, we talked about the race of life being a marathon rather than a sprint. This life we live is long, and sometimes the trials are too. As we persevere, there are times we will have to wait. May we always remember pain has a purpose and perseverance is a process.
Perspective – Psalm 16:8, Proverbs 4:15, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Hebrews 3:1
Here's a question we must not forget - Where's your focus? What or Who are you looking at? Self or God? Today or eternity? Feelings or God's sanctification? Oh friend, as we press on may we keep our eyes on the prize!!
Pep Talk of Promises – Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 43:1-2, 1 Cor. 15:56-58, Romans 8:28,37, Eph. 3:20, Phil. 1:6, 4:13
I don't know about you, but sometimes I need a pep talk. The perfect place to find those encouraging words are in God's promises. In those moments, when life has you down, grief beats you up and thoughts leave you depressed go to God's Word. He will speak to your heart and remind you who He is.
Friend, I didn't put this last "P" on the list, but it pretty much sums it up - PRACTICE! Not one of us will do this persevering thing perfectly, but we'll have plenty of opportunities to practice. Today no matter where life has you or what it brings you, please join me in persevering. It's God's desire for us, it's what's best for us and it will impact those who see us living out our faith and pressing hard to follow the God we love and Lord we serve!
I'd love to hear your thoughts, insights or experience with perseverance. Did one "P" stick out more than the others? Do you have wisdom to share I didn't include? Feel free to share in the comments.
Until next time, may these words from Jesus encourage you -
“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Revelation 3:10-11