Do you recognize any these familiar thoughts in your thinking?
- Thinking a particular “method” will reach people?
- Being impatient to see breakthroughs in people’s lives?
- Neglectful, lazy in really hearing from God in Scripture?
- Discouraged about whether God is at work in your area?
- Giving in to thoughts that what you’re doing is for nothing?
- Feelings of wanting to quit God’s assignment; disillusioned by setbacks or resistance?
Perhaps all of us have had such thoughts at any given time during our life and work for the Master. But they are symptomatic of a lack of abiding (or remaining) in Jesus (John 15:4); that is, never moving from that place of trust and belief. If allowed to continue, these ideas will rob us of persevering in order to inherit the promises of Scripture for the people with whom we work and for ourselves. Such thinking can relegate us to growing weary, to hard-heartedness and unbelief, thereby forsaking the hope of the gospel and His assignment for us.
Perseverance is a fortitude that comes from fixing our eyes on Jesus and communing with Him. It is a steadfastness that makes us firm, abounding in God’s work. It is a patience that allows God to work all things together for good, believing that He is at work because of the hope He has given us through the life and resurrection of Jesus. Perseverance is rooted in a faith that God will perform what He has promised. (Through discipline, faith and patience we inherit the promises, (Hebrews 12:6) though, like Abraham we may not see all the results in this life. And perseverance is one of the qualities recommended to us in 2 Peter 1:4-6 as a to-be-worked-on additive to our faith.
Perseverance results in believing God is at work regardless of the circumstances we see. It indicates that we are partakers with Jesus in His sufferings and in the work He is doing in our hearts and lives. It assumes we are mentally prepared for action (1 Peter 1:13) and being careful to live holy lives. Perseverance is essential for continuing our hope in how Christ is shaping us for the gracious revelation of us as His own. It keeps us from growing weary and losing heart in the work He gives us, inviting others to share in fellowship with God. (Hebrews 12:3).
Perhaps for you, perseverance will work itself out in continually believing that God is carrying out His plan for your children. Perhaps it will require more tangible persistence in Christ’s ways in the face of hostility. Maybe for you it will be continuing to pursue someone who hasn’t yet believed He is truly Lord of all. Whatever face perseverance takes in your life, it is essential for doing business for transformation and retaining the hope that does not disappoint. (Romans 5:5)
And it is important to grasp that perseverance in our lives affects those with whom we are in community. We affect each other by the attitudes of mental alertness, steadfastness, faith, patience, and abounding in God’s work that define our lives. Conversely, when we have a short-term, expect quick results mentality, we also communicate our carelessness, laziness, forgetting the promises of Scripture, disillusionment, lack of faith, etcetera, to each other. We have a bona fide responsibility for each other for wise and stimulating edification. (Hebrews 10:24)
What God has you doing; whoever God has you working alongside, we need to encourage one another into perseverance!