As Christians, we are called to abandon all things, if they become more important than our faith in Christ our Savior. We are called to have all things to be lived through our faith. We are to place eternity above all things temporary. Surprisingly, this faith which we say we hold dear is the point of contact in our everyday lives: how we treat others, to how we act in our very own private lives (Romans 13:8-14; Ephesians 4:17-5:21; Philippians 1:6). So what is perseverance?
Unfortunately, the appearance of the dangers in life can take us away, if we allow them, from the confidence we are to have in our Faith, which is in Christ. The Faith in Christ is a, to quote a popular saying, “Do or do not. There is no try”, way of living. Regardless of what the world says, what popular notions are, what the latest passing fad is, or what others say about the Faith, it comes down to Who you know, and what exactly that person is saying, and what you choose to believe. What we choose to believe comes down to what we value about ourselves, and what we choose to think about ourselves. Our Faith in Christ is not just about the future, but is the fermentation of the seed of the Word of God in our hearts, in this present age, whether we realize it or not, if we believe or deny it, God has placed us. So what is perseverance?
Due to peoples’ lives being different, we can share our lives, and because of the differences, we must be leery of comparing our lives. When we are ready, God reveals things, and challenges ourselves, our concepts, to finally help us realize, that we are to have a pure and simple faith. What is perseverance?
Receiving something new, like our Faith, that which is precious to us can be stimulating and exciting. Soon, we turn it over and ponder it and look closer. We question the Faith and try to view our lives through the Faith like we’re told to do. Soon we’re not too sure of it, but we continue to hold onto the Faith, or we set it aside, waiting to see if anything will cause our Faith to live on its own. But we shouldn’t forget that our faith is to raise us to new life, to open our eyes to the different Way of living. We must persevere.
So what exactly is this perseverance? What does it entail? Why should we hold onto this Faith? When we are plagued with doubt, what should we do? What do we have to hold onto in this despairing life?
In Scripture, we are called to watch out for those who seek to distort the teaching we are taught. We are also told, if not encouraged, to study the Word of God! How often do our studies go deep and cause us to press Scriptures into our hearts? (Colossians 3:12-17; Psalm 107:20, Psalm 119:9-16, 105, Psalm 139:23-24; Proverbs 30:5-6)
Studying Scripture and hiding it in our hearts is key to perseverance. When we hide the Scriptures in our hearts, it does what it says it will do. We on the other hand, attend to it. We must care for it. Plus, we must also watch over our hearts. When we look at the word persevere, in the Greek, we find its formation coming down to the word, ‘attend’. It means, “to be steadfast… denotes to continue steadfastly in a thing and give unremitting care to it.” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary) The Merriam-Webster definition of persevere is: “to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition or discouragement”. The word, ‘attend’, as an intrusive verb, means to “apply oneself <attend to your work>; to apply the mind or pay attention: heed; to be ready for service <ministers who attend upon the King>”, among others.
This is fascinating considering we are called to not just persevere under trials and tribulations. The word persevere is blatantly said in Scripture all the time, but we see examples of it and are encouraged in what it is. We must face many kinds of trials (James 1:2-18). So during these trials, we find four items which we must attend to, and let alone, these items are also under attack by the enemy.
The first item is Scripture. We must allow it to do its work within us. In other words, we must pay attention to it, take care that we know what it says. Study and examine ourselves against it. More often than not, we can fail to realize that we have the best view of ourselves in front of Scripture, when we are going through trials and hardships. It is our mirror. Let us not forget what we see. (James 1:19-27)
The second item we must attend to is each other. It is not about denominations, or which teachers teach what is more important, although we must watch our doctrine; these can be detrimental and cause us to lose sight of who we are called to be, yet more importantly, who we serve. Lest we forget, we as Believers in Christ, or followers of the Way, Live as the Body of Christ, Suffer as the Body of Christ, Die as the Body of Christ, and are Resurrected as the Body of Christ. All in Christ. The Community of Christ. Christ is our example. Our pure and simple faith, to overcome this world, as Christ has overcome this world. And when we walk the path, we can say with certainty and faith, we are overcomers; we are who we choose to follow, in Christ. We must remind ourselves and each other that our confidence will be rewarded! Also, when we see each other, even others who are not believers, they can be mirrors of us. This can help humble us. (Hebrews 10:35, 2:5-18; Titus 2:11-3:11; 2 Timothy 3:22-5, 2:3-26; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Colossians 3:23-25; Philippians 3:7-16, 2:1-18, 1:27-30, 1:6; Ephesians 2, 1:17-23).
The third item we surely should attend to, is attend our relationship with Father God. When we look at the first two items, this one should productively follow, if not the first. Our relationship with Scriptures and other people is an overflow of our relationship with Father God. For how can we ignore the others without contradicting ourselves in Christ? We are identified through Christ to our Father. He views us in Christ; this was the only way to him. The Father loves us while we were still sinners, but we cannot get to him, or gain eternal life with sins.
We attend our relationship with the Father by humbling ourselves before him. Another is accepting what he’s called us to do, that is, to walk with him and do what he has given us, purposed us in our hearts to do. Not just as individuals, but as a family. The third way to attend our relationship with the Father is by prayer and fasting. The fourth way is worship. And lastly, the fifth way, and I believe is very important, is to enjoy what he’s given us: Life.
The last item we are to persevere through, or attend, and every human being is familiar with are the hard times: the trials, the tribulations. But as children of the Father, our views, and even the reasons, are different for us for going through them. Even so, the end result is grand. We are molded into the image of Christ, we will live in Eternity with the Father in his Kingdom, and we will also have a place in this Kingdom which expands beyond everything we know. (2 Corinthians 5:1-21; Galatians 2:15-21; Galatians 3:26-4:7; Ephesians 1:3-14, 2:1-22)