Recently on a Sunday morning my daughter didn't want to go to church. Her big brother wasn't feeling well and was allowed to stay home so of course she wanted to as well. I encouraged her to come with me and told her that when we feel like going the least is when we need to go the most. That day at church she was a great helper to the children's pastor and received some Lifesaver Gummy's. It's one of her favorite little treats. She was so happy. Then I reminded her how she didn't want to go that morning and therefore almost missed the blessing God had for her (the gummy's). It was the perfect opportunity for me to talk to her about perseverance. How we need to persevere in doing what we know is right even when we don't feel like it.
Perseverance is not one of those things we like to do. We can see why when we know the definition: steady persistence in a course of action, purpose, or a state in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. We would rather things come easily, however life is about persevering. When we are only babies, we have to persevere to even take our first steps. It takes us anywhere between 9-18 months to accomplish it. Then life snowballs with more and more steps towards the future. We have to stay the course through school, our jobs, our marriage, and child-rearing. We must keep moving forward pressing through the difficulties because anything that really matters is worth the effort!
Let's think about what's hard at times but when we keep going has a huge payoff. Childbirth is really hard but in the end we hold a precious life in our arms. To care for and raise up a child in this world is challenging but we have the hope to see that child grown one day living their life successfully. Working in a specific field for many years takes daily persistence but will yield a retirement fund and rest in our golden years. Living for Jesus Christ is daily laying down our own wants for a better way that can lead many in this world to God which will reap a reward here on Earth and for all eternity. But doing any of these things does not come easily.
The Bible says, "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; goodness, knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance...For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8) Having perseverance keeps us from being ineffective and unproductive for the Kingdom of God! Why is that? Because it takes a persistent course of action to seek God every day of our lives. We can't just live life haphazardly, but we must live it with purpose and perseverance moving towards a goal.
When do we need to persevere? It's different for each of us. We all have different strengths and weaknesses that make some things harder. For example, for some of us sleepy heads, it's hard to get up early. We would do anything for an extra few minutes of sleep. If you compare that person to an early bird, which one perseveres the most when getting up early to read their Bible or pray? But to persevere is knowing those areas of struggle and working through them anyway. It's encouraging one another to keep on keeping on!! "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.." (Hebrews 12:1-2)