It took three trips to New Zealand, hours of climbing and glassing, a near death experience with a helicopter, plus a whole lot of persistence before I finally got my Record Book Tahr (a large mountain goat). Did you ever notice that the more challenging things in life do not come easy?
Many hunters pull themselves out of a warm, comfortable bed and hike through overgrown trails in freezing weather so they can sit in a cramped tree stand next to a pond full of mosquitoes. All this to possibly bag a trophy deer elk, or other species.
Typically, those hunters who eventually score are very persistent. They are willing to make the sacrifices needed to experience the challenge of the hunt and the satisfaction of taking the trophy animal.
Similarly, as Jesus was traveling from village to village in Galilee, He taught His disciples the parable of the sower as a way of encouraging them to persevere. He said, “The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)
He reminded His band of followers that to be spiritually fruitful they must persevere and give themselves wholeheartedly to the challenge. In other words, fruitfulness does not come easily.
When Paul and Barnabas traveled all over the Mediterranean spreading the Gospel, they encouraged these new followers of Jesus with the following words, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) The Lord makes it clear that following Him and producing fruit for Him will be a struggle, a challenge requiring perseverance or endurance. So, how do we obtain this perseverance?
Paul tells us how in Romans. First, he explains that, “suffering produces perseverance.” (Romans 5:3) At first this might sound like circular reasoning, but it makes sense that we can’t learn to persevere without opportunity to do so. We learn perseverance by enduring suffering. Paul also explains that God has given us His Word, the mind of Christ, and hope of success to help us endure. Why persevere if there’s no hope of success? But in Christ, we are guaranteed success.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” (Romans 15:4-5)
Let me leave you with this word from Hebrews 10:36, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
Personal Application: What is God calling you to endure right now? Grab hold of His Word, His hope, and the mind of Christ to persevere under your current trials. Hang in there! God is faithful!
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5