When was the last time you persevered through something difficult? Or perhaps persevered through temptation? Last week, a few months ago, a year ago?
I like Webster’s definition of perseverance – “The quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult.”
The exhortation to persevere through sin is something that has popped up for me recently reading through scripture and other readings.
Jesus told his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane to stay awake with Him as He was seeking and praying to God the Father about the cup he was to bear (His death). Jesus informed Peter, James, and John, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.“ (Matthew 26:41, NKJV)
I can rest assured according to God’s true and rich Word that my spirit is willing to obey!
In 2 Peter 1:3, we are informed that “His [the Lord’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” (NIV)
When I don’t give much effort in pushing through my sinful nature, it reveals the state of my heart and what things I am valuing other than Christ. Do I try to honor Him or do I give less than a half-hearted attempt to obedience?
I am encouraged by these words in Matthew 11 that Jesus shares with us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me….For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
The Holy Spirit has taken my burdens before when I have sought Him. He gave me His power, His strength, and His (light) yoke to work through the obstacle when I was paralyzed and couldn’t move forward in my strength.
So what is stopping me now from surrendering and submitting to the Lord and persevering through my sin?
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV, emphasis added)
This is an awesome promise and assurance in scripture! Who does not want to be effective and productive in their knowledge of the Lord?
Ruth Chou Simons, in her book “Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship,” says this:
“Our instant culture struggles to embrace the one-day-at-a-time, enduring work of faith. We can’t stand for things to be hard. We’re so sure there’s always a shortcut. If all the formulas, fads, fixes, and filters that promise to ease the work, speed the process, or boost the ordinary are stripped away, what’s left is the doing of the hard things.” (emphasis added)
Too often we do not fight for our obedience to the Lord. In the moment, we don’t think our sin is a big deal.
God is still teaching me what persevering in my spiritual walk looks like. I believe as I meditate on scripture, be still before Him, and listen for His voice, He will mold my heart to obey Him.
Practically speaking, I would be sure to pray with God before my roommate comes home so that I can show her the care and attention I would like to give a friend. I would persevere through completely-halted traffic jams and check my emotional response gauge before I start tailgating my neighbors on the road. Through the power of the Almighty Holy Spirit, I would persevere through my desire to watch T.V. before reading Scripture. Allowing the Lord to work on my heart and with a little help from Psalm 51, I would persevere through judgmental heart responses by performing a cursory overview of my own misgivings. Developing perseverance in my life also looks like dedicating a good chunk of time to preparation throughout my day.
What are your thoughts on persevering through sin and trials? Have you been able to rely on the Holy Spirit in the past to persevere through something? Will you believe His word and take on His yoke? Will you let Him give you His supernatural, beautiful, and life-giving strength to persevere? What are the “hard things” the Lord is calling you to persevere through?
For further reading on wrestling with sins, check out all of our past blogs on the topic here.
If you have stories to share about perseverence, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!