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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spiritual Ingredient - Perseverance

...and to self-control, perseverance...(verse 6)
from the passage of 2 Peter 1:5-11

Perseverance, in an English dictionary, is defined as a steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose. Some versions translate this verse as patience. If you click the text link above, the passage says Christians should be adding several qualities to their lives. Let's think about verse 6...adding perseverance as a spiritual ingredient.

The Greek word of perseverance/patience in this verse is defined as follows: "The characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings." This could be summed up in simple, every day language as “Keep on keeping on”. To "Keep on keeping on" as is inferred in this verse, God is telling us not to give up, even during trials and suffering.

James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." It’s hard enough some times for us to go through trials and this verse is telling us to consider it joy. Why? And how? How is it possible to be joyful when we're suffering?

To answer the "why" question: God wants us to rely on Him. He wants us to see that He can help us get through anything that comes into our life - no matter how terrible or painful it may be. He wants us to stick it out, to keep Him close, and to stay on course. And, as hard it is for us to comprehend, God uses our trials to help us grow stronger as Christians. The verse above says that perseverance must finish its work so that we may mature and complete. God is the potter. We are the clay. He is molding us into becoming more like Jesus.

In answer to the second question of "how" can we be joyful, we must look to the life of Jesus. No matter what we face in our life, it could never compare to what Jesus went through on the cross for each of us. He willingly gave His life by suffering on the cross. The blood He shed became the final sacrifice - a perfect sacrifice. Hebrews 9:26-28 says, "Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." Even in the worst situations we face, we can find joy because of Christ and because of our opportunity to live in Heaven eternally because of that sacrifice.

Questions to ask yourself:
What trials and sufferings have you had in your life?
How do the trials and sufferings in your life compare to what Jesus encountered in His life?
What would have happened if Jesus had not persevered?
What if Jesus had "thrown in the towel" and quit when He first met opposition to His teachings?
What if Jesus had not done His Father's Will and gone to the cross?
Can you find joy, even in your trials and suffering?
Can you persevere knowing that God is working to make you more mature and complete?

1 comment:

Helene said...

Stopping by your blog is the next best thing to sitting out on your porch :-)

Thank you Alyssa for letting her guest post or I may never have found her blog!

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