perseverance

Keep Walking

Perseverance in undervalued. It's a virtue that gets ignored. It's not glamorous and may seem boring to some. Perseverance is underrated but it shouldn't be. It's a valuable virtue.

Perhaps it's viewed as underachieving or being stuck in a rut. But that would be inaccurate. Perseverance is all about strength and endurance.

Persistence is often valued and seen in a better light. It's a sought after quality in business and sales. And yet, persistence and perseverance have synonymous definitions.

Both words speak of continuing on in the face of adversity. Persistence and perseverance are highly valued in athletics and science, as they should be. When it comes to faith, God highly values perseverance and so ought we.

Scripture

For a short time our fathers disciplined us as they thought best. Yet, God disciplines us for our own good so that we can become holy like him. We don’t enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right. [vss 10-11]

Strengthen your tired arms and weak knees. Keep walking along straight paths so that your injured leg won’t get worse. Instead, let it heal. [vss 12-13]

(Hebrews 12:10-13 GW) [Context– Hebrews 12]

Key phrase—

Strengthen your tired arms and weak knees. Keep walking along straight paths.

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • What are we told about discipline and fathers? What is your experience with this as a child?

  • How is God's discipline described? What is His intended purpose for discipling us?

  • What is the universal response to discipline? Yet, what is the intended fruit of God's discipline?

  • How is the final exhortation in this text expressed? Does this make sense to you?

Reflection...

Over the past few generations, various stances have been taken on disciplining children. Typically, it vacillates between permissiveness and strictness.

This seems to reflect what is seen regarding spiritual discipline in the church. It can be seen in what's tolerated culturally but more importantly, it reveals how we value and view personal discipline in our lives.

None of us would choose correction or discipline for the most part. Thankfully, God is both merciful and gracious. If we don't pursue spiritual discipline for ourselves, He provides the means for us to receive it, as in a previous devotional.

When we embrace God's discipline applied in our lives it benefits us. Then we mature and grow spiritually. When we resist it, then we get stuck in a rut and underachieve. When we persevere during trials and tests in life and keep walking in straight paths, it will bear peaceable fruit in our lives.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • How have you seen God bring correction and discipline in your life?

  • When have you experienced the benefit of perseverance in your walk of faith?

  • In what ways do you both pursue spiritual discipline in your life now?

  • Where have you seen the direct result (fruit) of God's discipline in your life?

©2017—Word-Strong


Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews

Don't Turn Back!

History is full of examples and stories of people exhibiting great endurance and perseverance. American history is no different. Colonial settlers faced great odds, uncertainty, and opposition, as they carved out a life in a new land and birthed a new nation.

As the nation expanded westward, it faced new challenges in unsettled territories. The same is true when modern aviation was born which paved the way for manned space flights.

Countless and untold heroic stories of perseverance took place in battles for freedom from the Revolutionary War to present conflicts in the Middle East.

Perseverance is way under-valued. It's usually not exciting or glamorous but is a vital element in the pursuit of freedom. And so it with the Christian faith. Spiritual endurance and perseverance are key to a genuine life of faith.

Scripture

Remember the past, when you first learned the truth. You endured a lot of hardship and pain. At times you were publicly insulted and mistreated. At times you associated with people who were treated this way.

You suffered with prisoners. You were cheerful even though your possessions were stolen, since you know that you have a better and more permanent possession. [vss 32-34]

So don’t lose your confidence. It will bring you a great reward. You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised.

“Yet, the one who is coming will come soon. He will not delay. The person who has God’s approval will live by faith. But if he turns back, I will not be pleased with him.”

We don’t belong with those who turn back and are destroyed. Instead, we belong with those who have faith and are saved. [vss 35-39]

(Hebrews 10:32-39 GW) [Context– Hebrews 10]

Key phrase—

So don’t lose your confidence—it will bring you a great reward

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • What are these believers encouraged to remember? What specific things are pointed out?

  • What are they exhorted not to lose and what do they need to have to receive what God promised?

  • Why are these exhortations necessary? How are they connected to the consistent and primary theme of the book of Hebrews?

  • What is the last encouraging statement? How was this encouraging to those believers then and for us now?

Reflection...

This strong exhortation encouraged believers to not go back to an empty and dead form of religion. It is as true today for us as it was for them.

Are you discouraged in your faith? Are things in life not going the way you expected and hoped? Don't turn back! Keep pressing on in faith. Endure. Persevere.

God is faithful and we need to be faithful to Him. He will not abandon us even though it may seem like that from our limited view of life. He won't abandon us even when we fail Him or stumble in our faith. If you want God's acceptance and approval, then continue in your faith. 

The Lord is faithful and He promised to return for those who trust in Him. Even though it may seem like an overdue promise, it's not. God is far more patient and longsuffering than we are. We just need to trust Him and persevere.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • Have you wondered at times why you should keep doing what is right and just and good?

  • Can you see how very personal God's promises are? Do you understand how personal faith is?

  • What is discouraging you right now? Are you willing to entrust this to the Lord?

  • In what ways has God shown His faithfulness to you? Allow those things to encourage you to endure in your faith!

©2017—Word-Strong


Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews

Better Things

What's your image of God? Do you envision Him as a kindly grandfather, or do you imagine Him being a strict disciplinarian?

Our family of origin and how we were raised can have a positive or negative effect on our relationship with God. I've seen this to be true in people's lives over and over as a pastor and missionary.