The coaching legend, Vince Lombardi used to say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The late Robert Schuller reminded us that, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
Life is tough. Even for Christians. Jesus promised us that in this world we will experience tribulations, troubles and trials. But, He said, “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”
Perseverance is the ability to “keep on keeping on.” Deciding that no matter what, we’re not going to throw in the towel, quit, pack up and go back to Egypt. It could be as serious as fighting a chronic health issue, a conflict at work, a troubled marriage, or as benign but just as real as sticking to a diet!
Perseverance is the metal of disciples who won’t stop, who won’t quit, and who won’t compromise, but keep moving forward with their eyes on Jesus! And there’s good news! God uses troubles and trials and our perseverance for His purposes in our lives.
First, perseverance deepens our faith. The song “Through it All” rings true:
“I thank God for the mountains, and I thank Him for the valleys: I thank Him for the storms He brought me through. For if I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know God could solve them, I’d never know what faith in God could do. Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”
When hard times come, and we’re forced to depend on God for everything, God’s love, power and comfort becomes more real, and more precious than ever! Our faith is stretched and matures to face even bigger struggles!
Second, perseverance shapes us and transforms us into the likeness and character of Jesus Christ! God’s ultimate will for each one of us is to make us more like Jesus each and every day. And God will use everything He can to accomplish that purpose in our lives including trials and troubles.
Will we become better or bitter? Will we forgive? Will we offer grace? Will we continue to love those who are making life hard for us? We will keep the faith and endure?
Third, perseverance is the precursor to ministries of comfort to others. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT) “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
God never wastes our pain and struggles. He will use them so that we can comfort others who are going through similar trials with the comfort we found in Jesus!
Fourth, perseverance reminds us that this world is not our home. Facing life’s struggles creates a longing for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
It’s so easy for us to get attached to the things of this world. But brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re just “passing through” this world. We’re pilgrims on a journey. When we gave our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, we were given a new citizenship in the Kingdom of God, and a new home — heaven!
When we go through troubles, trials and tribulations we will look for and long for “The Blessed Hope” of Jesus coming again and our eternal home in heaven where there will be no more tears, no more troubles, and no more death!
Let me encourage you: God knows what you are going through! And He’s right there with you every step of the way! And He doesn’t waste your pain and struggles! God uses them for His purposes to build your faith, to make you more like Christ, to give you a ministry of comfort to others and give you an eternal perspective in life!
It’s always too early to give up! So don’t throw in the towel! Keep the faith! Many great games are won in the closing seconds! Keep your eyes on Jesus and He will see you through. And know that God will use your perseverance for His eternal purposes in your life and for His glory!