My pastor uses a most excellent word for perseverance: stickability. It means sticking to the task no matter how great the challenges. It means never giving up on God because He is never giving up on us. It means giving all diligence to our spiritual growth.
â€œBut also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.â€ (2 Peter 1:5-9)
Beloved, tough times are coming and the only way to avoid them is to avoid life. But then, youâ€™re not really living. In our progression as Christians we cannot allow temporary defeats, or victories for that matter, to determine whether or not we will stick with the Lord Jesus Christ. He told us He is the way, the truth, and the life and to try to live for God or even for this life outside of Christ is a foolâ€™s errand.
So how do we keep from giving up? How do we go the extra mile? How do we stick like glue? Peter tells us how in his first letter:
â€œTherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, â€˜Be holy, for I am holy.â€™â€ (1 Peter 1:13-16)
Why did Peter put â€œthereforeâ€ in this passage. Remember, we must always know what the â€œthereforeâ€ is there for. He was encouraging the dispersed Christians to remember that we have a heavenly inheritance in Christ, one that comes through salvation in Jesus Christ and was searched for and prophesied by the prophets (vv. 3-12).
And we have Scripture to strengthen our resolve. The history of the Bible is packed with examples of perseverance. The writer of Hebrews reminds us:
â€œTherefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.â€ (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Iâ€™ve begun reading a book by James MacDonald titled The Vertical Church and the premise of the book is that in all things we should be looking for God. We should desire God among us and all the other things we look for in Christianity and church will fall into place.
So it is with our spiritual growth. The passage in Hebrews tells to look to Jesus because He fashioned our faith and He will finish it. Why? How? Because as King He left His throne of majesty and took on a human body and died the most horrific death ever experienced by man. And He had the power to quit at any time. He had the power to call down a legion of angels to defeat His foes. And yet He endured and now He sits at the right hand of God the Father.
That is why we must endure. That is why we must never quit. And if we will persevere, then the holiness, the Christlikeness, the godliness we so desperately need and hopefully desire will follow.
More on that next time…
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Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers