Posts Tagged ‘Perseverance


The Time Of Testing

God’s Word is clear that God is not evil. He cannot be tempted by evil. God is perfectly holy and righteous. There is nothing wicked or evil about God. God does not tempt us to do evil, either (James 1:13). He is not trying to see how strong we are when it comes to temptation and sin. God does not want anyone to sin because sin separates. Sin separates us from Him and sin separates us from each other. God is about unity and not about division. With all of this being said, Jesus’ words sound strange in Matthew 6:13a (NIV), when He prayed:

And lead us not into temptation…

The word for temptation can also mean a time of testing. Tests of our faith and the trials of life are difficult. They are also necessary. We can only grow through trials and tests. We should ask God to spare us from them. God is not the source of these trials and tests, but He may choose to allow them in order to produce perseverance and character in us. He may allow them to draw us closer to Himself. Ask the Lord to protect you from the tests and trials, but rejoice in the trials as well. God works everything out for good in the end.


Don’t Give Up

There are many distractions that can take us away from our purpose and God-given mission. You can get distracted by fear or doubt. You may be distracted by sin or temptation. You could be distracted by the attacks of the enemy. You might be distracted by failing health or relationships. You can be distracted by good things such as work or family life. These distractions, and not all of them are bad, can pull us in many directions. When God gives you a mission, you have to carry it out. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 4:17 (NLT) about someone in the Colossian church. He said:

And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”

While we do not know what the circumstances were regarding Archippus, we presume that he led a house church. He had been given a ministry and perhaps something was distracting him. It may have been a false teaching that was threatening his ministry. Whatever was distracting him, Paul told him to carry out his God-given ministry. The same can be said to you and me. God has given us a mission and a purpose that we need to make sure that we carry out. We have a mission to share His love and the good news of Jesus to everyone we know. Don’t let anything distract you from your mission and purpose. Carry it out and together, we’ll change the world.


Is Your Faith Strong?

If someone were writing a letter to you, what would they say about you? Would they tell you that they admire you for your faith or would they admonish you for your behavior? Would they talk about your perseverance or your inability to keep going through hard times? What would stand out about you to them? The apostle Paul, in writing to the Colossians, told them how he felt about them. He wrote in Colossians 2:5 (NLT):

For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.

He had affection for the people to whom he was writing. He also remarked about their faith and conduct. They were living like Christians. They were doing the things that they should have been doing. They weren’t making excuses for their sin. They were living like Christ. Not only that, but they were strong in the faith. Though there were false teachers who were trying to lead them astray, their faith was genuine and strong. The Colossians were looking more and more like the One in whom that had placed their faith. May the same be said of us.


Standing In Grace

God’s grace not only saves us, but it sustains us as we walk in the newness of life. Peter, at the very end of his first letter, talks about his purpose in writing. The Christians to whom he was sending this letter were undergoing intense persecution for their faith. He encourages them over and over to stand firm. Stand firm in the faith. Stand firm against the devil. Stand firm in the face of persecution. He encourages them to stand firm once more. He wrote in 1 Peter 5:12 (NLT):

I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.

The persecution they were facing was a part of God’s grace. That may sound strange, but here is why: persecution can have positive results. It can strengthen your faith and prove it genuine and authentic. It causes you to rely more and more on God’s grace. His grace can see us through persecution and trials. So no matter what you’re going through, remember to stand firm in the grace of God today.


Stand Firm

There’s a great scene in the movie Braveheart where the enemy is coming at the Scots and William Wallace is shouting to his troops, “Hold!” He was telling them to stand firm and hold their positions. The enemy was coming at them full speed and Wallace shouts out again, “Hold!” The apostle Peter talks about our spiritual enemy in 1 Peter 5. He wrote in 1 Peter 5:9 (NLT):

Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The enemy is that prowling lion and is always on the attack. Peter is shouting to us, “Hold!” Don’t turn and flee. Don’t run and hide. Don’t give up on your faith. Instead, be strong. How do we do that? We need to do those things that strengthen our faith. Worshiping with other believers to encourage them and be encouraged by them. Reading the Word of God regularly. Praying often for strength and courage. These may sound cliche, but it is because they work. Do the things that brought you this far and they will sustain you on the rest of your journey. When the enemy attacks, you’ll be able to stand firm.


When You Are Persecuted

Following Jesus will eventually bring persecution into your life. Jesus is threatening to people who want to live according to their own standards. People want to serve themselves and Jesus says, “Deny yourself.” People want to gratify their sinful natures and Jesus says we have to take up our cross. People want to follow their hearts and Jesus says, “Follow Me.” When you live for Jesus, you threaten their lifestyle and therefore they threaten your life. Jesus said:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,​ ​because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

Persecution is nothing new and it will continue until Christ returns. Do not forget that there is a great reward for the faithful. Don’t give up! Persecution is temporary. Heaven is for eternity. We’ll be there soon and we’ll know that perseverance through persecution was worth it.

Spiritual Heroes

Do you have a spiritual hero? Is there a fellow Christ-follower you admire? Maybe it is because of their heart for God and people. Perhaps it is because of the way that they pray. It could be that you look up to them because you know how devoted they are to reading Scripture and teaching others. It’s someone whose example you want to emulate. Paul told the Philippians that they should follow his example. He wrote:

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:9 (NIV)

It’s a good thing to have a spiritual hero or a mentor. We all need to follow Jesus’ example first and then the example of others who have been walking with Him for a long time. If there’s someone whom you admire spiritually, why not let them know that you look up to them? It isn’t for the purpose of boosting their ego, but rather to encourage them in their faith. We all need encouragement to keep going in this life. Knowing that they are inspiring you may be the encouragement they need today to persevere through troubles, trials and tests.

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