I'm not the most persevering of souls. I find that I'm sometimes very easily discouraged or distracted. And yet perseverance is described in the New Testament as of paramount importance, and is spoken of in contexts of great opposition or affliction. In other words, it's both vital and difficult, so I need God's help to accomplish it.
This seems doubly apparent in Revelation 14:12 where it says, "Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." This means that the perseverance we're called to is both external and internal -- a matter of both our deeds and our disposition. This is no small thing. It encompasses actions and attitudes. That's probably why I feel so inadequate to achieve it. To be persevering is to faithfully do the works of God in a life of obedience as well as to believe the promises of God in a life of faith!
There are times when I may do well at how I live but struggle with issues of my heart. And there are times when I may do well at trusting God, but struggle to live the life I know God has called me to. Discouragements or distractions can so easily trip me up both internally and externally. But the call is clear: Perseverance in both faith and action.
I believe this makes it abundantly clear that we're simply not capable of perseverance without God's help. It's beyond me, of that I'm sure. I know that if I'm to persevere as a husband praying for my wife's healing -- or as a pastor seeking to live the life I write, teach and converse about -- it's not going to be all about me trying harder. My inadequacies are plain, so as I seek after God, persevering is going to be much more about God's grace at work in my life. And that's why it's His grace I want to call out for as I read God's call to persevere.
© 2009 by Ken Peters