Perseverance // Part 3
Many passages instruct us how to persevere in the midst of trials. We have already discovered two:
1) Pray about everything and give thanks, even for the difficult things (Philippians 4:6-7); and, 2) Open our eyes to see the miracles that God is doing all around us.
The Lord constantly reminded the Israelites to recall their history and the many ways God had been at work in their lives. He asked them to hold numerous celebrations to remember His great provisions for them. When they were struggling in their faith, the Israelite leaders often reminded the people of God’s faithfulness and goodness (see Joshua 24:1-14; Nehemiah 9; Psalm 106). You may want to try the exercise of faith that is written in Psalm 136. Rewrite this Psalm by filling in your own story. “Give thanks to the Lord for (fill in a good work from your past that God has done for you), His love endures forever.” Then repeat this phrase with another good work, etc.
Other Scriptures also help us persevere in adversity. Jesus says: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The apostle John continues this theme later by telling us that “everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). The Lord is assuring us that no matter how bad things may seem, in the end we are victors in Christ Jesus. He assures us in Romans 8:35-39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God. No matter what evil or hardship comes our way, God’s love is there to comfort, assure, strengthen, and help us (see Isaiah 41:8-10).
Acknowledge that God is using trials to help mature us in our faith. Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2-4 shed light on this. Paul and James say we can rejoice in our suffering because God is using it to build perseverance, character, and hope in us. Note Romans 5:5: “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Again we see this theme of God’s love. It is critical that we take captive every thought that opposes the truth of God’s character. Through prayer, reject all lies that oppose the good character of God, such as, “He is not loving, kind, caring, wise, or all powerful.” We will lose the battle of perseverance if we doubt the character of God. His Word testifies of His character. Meditate on and proclaim His truth to ourselves and others. Fix our eyes on Jesus, not our problems. Remember how Peter walked on water when he focused on Jesus. But the minute he looked at the raging waters, he sank (see Matthew 14:29-31). As we share the gospel even when we feel weak in our faith, we will be amazed at how much this will strengthen us in our walks with the Lord.
Today’s Bible Reading: Psalm 106, Psalm 136, Romans 5:3-5