The Source of Our Perseverance for Troubled Times
by Dani Pettrey
I recently was diagnosed with Lupus and the words that rang over and over through mind as I struggled to come to grips with my new reality were persevere and run the race.
“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
What does it mean to persevere? I decided to find out and start digging. First I started with the dictionary, which defines perseverance as:
Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or opposition.
Then I turned to Strong’s Concordance, which explains that the root word of perseverance in Greek is hupomoné, which means endurance, steadfastness and patiently waiting for.
There’s that word again. Steadfastness. I continued to dig and discovered steadfast means resolutely firm or unwavering. Unwavering. That’s a strong word and one that I think applies greatly to our lives, particularly our faith and walk with Christ. I certainly can’t think of anyone who lived a life of resolute endurance and unwavering perseverance more than Christ during His earthly ministry.
I started digging into the gospels, beginning with Matthew and read how Jesus endured temptation by the devil in the wilderness for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11). Can you imagine unrelenting temptation for forty days? Having to withstand someone promising to make it all better and give you what ‘is best’ if you’ll just compromise, if you’ll denounce God? Yet Christ was resolute and withstood. Surely, if Christ could endure forty days at the devil’s hand, we can be encouraged that because His Holy Spirit lives in us and because God has given us His armor (Ephesians 6:11), we too can endure and persevere through temptation.
Not only did Jesus endure temptation, but He was faced with weariness (John 4:6), heartache (John 11:35) and the hurtful knowledge He was unwanted and unwelcome (John 11:35, Mark 6:4). He understands our pain and heartache because He endured them Himself. He knew what it was like to be alone and hungry and hurting.
However, the culmination Jesus’ earthly ministry is, by far, the greatest example of persevering, of being unwavering, as He endured the painstaking agony of the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14, Matthew 26). It was so painful, He sweat blood, knowing what awaited Him at the cross (Mark 15), but He endured. He persevered.
How, or more importantly, why was Jesus able to continue on in the face of such difficulty and opposition? It’s because He knew not only the purpose of His sacrificial death, but the glory that awaited Him on the other side of death. He persevered out of an intense love for us. To break the chains and bondage of sin and death, so that we could be free. Let us, in turn, persevere and run the race He’s marked out for us because of our immeasurable love for our Savior. He’s taught us the way. He’s already walked this path, and emerged victorious. We have the blessed assurance that we will too. We will be victorious in Christ.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
~Matthew 24:13 KJV
I hope you’ll set aside some time to read about and reflect on Jesus’ time on earth and all He’s done for you. I truly believe it will encourage your walk and spur on your perseverance.
Here are some verses to get you started:
1 Corinthians 15:57
Thank you for sharing this time with me. I hope it’s been helpful and encouraging to you. I pray the Lord will strengthen you, and that His Holy Spirit will fill you with endurance and perseverance to run the race He’s laid before you—no matter what difficulties or trials you may face. For we know that He’s already walked that path, and He’s walking it again right beside you. You are covered in His grace.
Dani Pettrey is a wife, mom, grandma and author of the bestselling ALASKAN COURAGE and CHESAPEAKE VALOR series from Bethany House. You can learn more about her at danipettrey.com
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