We see in scripture that perseverance is running and finishing the race (as mentioned in the well known scriptures Hebrews 12: 1-2 and 2 Timothy 4: 7).
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4: 7
We see perseverance as keeping up, facing trials and working hard. We view it as having a fast pace and breaking a sweat so we can win. Perseverance takes dedication, determination, grit. It involves persistence, endurance and stamina. We have to have drive and tenacity to persevere in life. Perseverance requires us to push through the hard times and finish strong.
The Spectrum of Perseverance
But, perseverance is also simply doing what needs to be done. It’s keeping a good pace. It’s doing what’s required of us. To win the race, we have to train for the race – both of which involve being perseverant. Perseverance is just as much about pushing through the monotony of life. It’s maintaining the mundane and taking care of life’s responsibilities.
Perseverance doesn’t always have to be glamorous. It can be practical. Perseverance isn’t just a lot of hype about being tough. We’re exposed to ideas about how we must persevere through difficulties, but we don’t often realize that we persevere every day through obedience. Our daily routine of going to school and practice, doing our homework and chores and taking care of our wellbeing all builds perseverance. By honoring our daily responsibilities, we’re developing strength and learning the act of obedience which is what perseverance is all about. To persevere is to obey your body, mind, teachers, parents, coaches and most importantly, God.
If we don’t practice obedience, then we aren’t practicing perseverance. And, if we can’t persevere through the daily requirements of life, then how can we be trusted with winning the big race? How can we survive a major trial, hardship or difficulty if we can’t even manage our daily schedule? How can we handle something significant if we can’t even unload the dishwasher, take out the trash or do our math homework? The act of perseverance can only lead to triumph if we’re victorious in the small stuff.
Romans 5 notes that through perseverance, we develop a lot of other winning attributes in life.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5: 1-5
Perseverance isn’t the easiest task. It can be boring, it can be hard. But, with every achievement, we gain a more solid understanding of who we are and what we’re doing on earth. Perseverance isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to involve a bit of suffering, especially when we’re persevering because we want to follow God’s leading in our life. As we learn to persevere through life, we build character and hope.
The character that we develop, isn’t’ just becoming a nicer, more resilient person. It’s about the character of God welling up inside of us. As we daily pursue our true identity in Christ, we become more like Him. Galatians 5:22-23 proclaims that we gain the fruit of the Spirit, which are listed as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are great attributes that we should want more of. As these characteristics become more prominent in our lives, our hearts become filled with greater hope.
This hope helps us keep our eyes on the prize, not the goal of winning here on earth, but realizing that life here on earth is nothing compared to life in heaven with God our Father. Our hope is in Him. Our hope is for eternal life. Our hope is in the peace and joy that only God can provide. Life here on earth is nothing more than a daily grind, but life in Christ is the ultimate victory. We will become victorious over everything we’ve persevered for: the history test, the soccer goal, the late night study sessions, the winning trophy, the hurtful relationships, the pain, the suffering, the hardship, the calling that Christ laid upon our life. Our hope, which comes from daily perseverance, can rest on what we gain in Christ.