God's Exquisite Garden

PERSEVERANCE

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The word perseverance means endurance, steadfastness, to persist in, to continue, to stand firm, to put up with, and to bear up bravely.

Mark 13:13," And you will be hated by all for My name's sake, but he who endures to the end shall be saved. "

During trying times, the assurance we have will keep us living for the Lord. We never know whether someone is watching us. As we endure the difficult times, our example is stronger. A weak Christian may see us suffering. Unknowingly, we help them. Perseverance also strengthens our faith in the Lord.

We find in Hebrews 3:14," For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end."

Mountain climbers are examples of perseverance. They have to be very alert and careful as to each aspect of that sport or hobby. When they are preparing to leave, they are taking care to pack the right supplies they will need.

Before they ascend up the mountain, they have already become a team. They watch out for each other, each person knowing the hazards ahead. All along their climb, they are watching for falling rocks, falls from rocks, weather changes, slopes, and altitude changes. They have prepared for altitude sickness. In their preparation and their struggles the similarity is shown.

As Christians we are to persevere unto the end, enduring all suffering that comes our way. We have fellow Christians to encourage us as mountain climbers have their team. As we study and learn more of the Lord's teachings, this prepares us to face Satan's wiles.

Another example is the woodpecker. These birds are terribly persistent. The woodpecker's success is due to the fact that he uses his head. He continues until he finishes the job. We should be persistent no matter what the Devil throws our way.

In II Timothy 2:15 we read, " Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." When someone has perseverance, a deep commitment is shown.

In Nehemiah 4:6 we are told," So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work." Nehemiah and the people were able to rebuild the wall because they applied themselves and completed the task. No doubt they became tired, but with their determination the wall was completed. Once the wall was finished, they began to reap the rewards of their work.


The athlete is another example of perseverance. Those athletes who finish do so with much endurance. We might compare the Christian life to the Boston Marathon. The preparation the athletes make for the race is to be compared to the preparation a Christian makes by studying. The Christian also must be prepared to face the darts and arrows of the Devil. The Scriptures tell us in II Timothy 2:15 to study diligently. Without daily study of the Word of God we will fall into Satan's net.

Another form of athlete is a football player. He may be knocked down over and over again, but he will get up and try again. We are to do the same thing. An effectual Christian is one who trains in the ways of the Lord.

In the early church, they wrestled with the problem of renouncers. These people waited until they were about to be severely persecuted physically, and then before the persecution was to take place, they would not confess to being a Christian. They did not persevere. There is a saying that is very true: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
I Timothy 4:16(NKJV)

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9(NKJV)

We may not be physically persecuted. The persecution may be verbal, or it may be that we are not included because of our stand. Nevertheless, if we stand firm upon the teachings of the Lord, we will endure the sufferings. Jesus told us that there would be tribulations. As we endure these tribulations, our faith will grow stronger. We will become more confident as to our ability to be steadfast.

One of my favorite verses is I Corinthians 15:58. There we are told," Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." A comforting scripture and one we need to always remember is John 14:1-6.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer...
Romans 12:10-12(NKJV)

And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:22(NKJV)

When we are tired or discouraged it is so comforting to know Jesus has gone to prepare us a place. This place will be our crown of life that we have been told awaits all Christians found faithful unto the end. The life of a Christian is a difficult one. It is easier to drop our guard and let Satan take over. But, think of the reward that awaits us!!

This is something we need to understand: temptations and trials work patience. We see in James 1:3," knowing the testing of your faith produces patience." These trials will strengthen us, and we will become more righteous.

Also in Romans 5:3-5 we are told that tribulation produces perseverance. With the added strength found in the study of His Word, we can face these trials in life. They will not make us weaker but stronger. When I was a teenager, we did door to door knocking. I remember times when doors were slammed in our faces. The young lady working with me looked shocked as if the person had personally hurt her. We need to remember that they are not refusing us, it is the message that we are attempting to bring. We are His messengers. They are ultimately refusing to hear God's precious Word.

Victory belongs to those who persevere.

DISCUSSION AND STUDY QUESTIONS:
(1) What does perseverance present?
(2) How are we to face trials?
(3) What do we have to look forward to if we are faithful unto death?

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Copyright 2007 Linda Lawrence









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