Friday, August 1, 2014

Three Keys to Perseverance

Today I would like to share some thoughts from my wife. She delivered the following devotion to her coworkers recently and I thought it was worth passing it on to you. I pray you are blessed and encouraged by it.

Perseverance- Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even when it is difficult.

Throughout the Bible we read the accounts of flawed men and women who persevered in their faith, their prayers, their patience, their obedience, their calling, etc.

Just to name a few we read about …

Job lost everything but his nagging wife and accusing friends. However, his trust in God endured even in the face of unanswered questions of why he was suffering. Through the example of Job’s life we learn that it is more important to know God than to know answers.

Moses, left the prestige of a palace and became God’s humble servant. Moses enjoyed an intimate relationship with God throughout 40 years of leading 2 million bickering and quarreling people. None of that generation was allowed to enter the promise land, but their children were.

Noah, whose 120 year commitment to a building project and obedience to God, resulted in the salvation of his family

Joseph encountered betrayal, false accusations, and imprisonment, but in every set back, his belief in God’s promises enabled him to prosper and to eventually save a nation

Elijah remained faithful to God even though he believed no one else had. His commitment to worship the one true God and to oppose the wicked prompted the Israelites to declare- “The Lord- He IS GOD!”

Daniel held to his convictions to honor God in every area of his life. He persisted in prayer even in the face of dire consequences. In light of this he gained respect in a foreign kingdom. Everyone who knew Daniel, knew that God was with him.

Nehemiah left the security of his home and a prominent job with the king of Persia to rebuild the broken down walls of Jerusalem. He relied on God and prayed for God’s help. He led God’s people to rebuild the walls despite great resistance from their enemies. And because of Nehemiah’s perseverance, God was able to use him to bring about spiritual awakening among the people of Judah.

Paul incurred many hardships and suffering but remained obedient in proclaiming the gospel. As a result many gentiles accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

And there are many others that we read about who persevered in one way or another and accomplished great things for God. And in their perseverance, others were benefited as well.

What is it that God wants to accomplish through you? Ask Him. What are you willing to persevere through to accomplish His will? Jesus persevered through the cross for us! God has called each of us and has uniquely gifted each of us to accomplish His will.

So when you start feeling like giving up, refocus your attention using the following three keys to perseverance:
  1. Remember His Purpose
Philippians 2:13 declares to you that " is GOD who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." (NIV) His good purpose is that all be saved. So are you willing to persevere when that close friend hurts you deeply, or your coworker deceives you to get ahead on that promotion you wanted, or things just generally don’t go the way you expected them to and seemingly never do?
  1. Remember His Prominence
1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (NAS) There is no wasted effort when the aim is to glorify the Lord by making Him known.
  1. Remember His Promises
Galatians 6:9 affirms, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV) We must not let daily circumstances, pressures and disappointments cloud the truth of God's promises of the reward that awaits those who endure to the end.
When we live a defeated life that is focused on the troubles we face, it is then that we have taken our eyes off Christ and put them on ourselves. It is then that we have forgotten that all we do is for God's glory. Let's remember that the One who endured the cross for us is the One who will help us endure the hardships and abuses of this life while we look forward to the greater reward:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  (Hebrews 12:1-3)

 For God's Glory,
Sara Sweet and Chris S. Sweet

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