This podcast covers Lesson 1 of Profiles of Perseverance Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
Stay Focused on Jesus
Hebrews 12:1-3 uses the imagery of running a long race like a marathon. The setting is that of an athletic contest in a great amphitheater with a dense cloud of witnesses—not spectators—but those who can testify to the value of putting your faith in God even when you can’t see the end. They lived that way. They ran that race.
The race is the rough-and-tumble of real life. Real life hurts. It’s confusing. It blindsides us. We often cling to things that hinder us. We have to make the choice to throw off everything that entangles us and keeps us from running the race with perseverance.
Throw off what hinders us
- Perseverance is active staying power and tenacity to hold up under some long-term burden. Expect a difficulty to be long-term and a burden.
- If you expect that a Christian life should have fewer trials except those brought on by yourself, that is unrealistic and dangerous thinking because it leads to continual disappointment. That is a hindrance.
- Other hindrances are our own bad choices that bring trouble to us. Or, the bad choices of others that are inflicted upon us. Either way, we get stuck with the results. Those can be hindrances.
Perseverance produces maturity in us
- God’s goal for us is to be mature and complete. Perseverance is His tool to help us reach that goal.
- We don’t naturally desire perseverance. We get sidetracked with our comforts and our rights. Without perseverance, we become satisfied with immaturity.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2)
- Most people count it all joy when they escape trials, and they count it all grief when they have to endure them. But, God’s not going to overprotect His children.
- THE KEY: Human parents raise their children to be less dependent on them and more independent as they grow up. But, God raises His children to be less independent of Him and more dependent on Him. Whatever He brings into our lives that makes us more dependent upon Him is good for us. If He didn’t bring those things into our lives, we wouldn’t know how to rely on Him for real strength.
Stay focused on Jesus
- Christianity is Christ! It’s not a lifestyle, rules of conduct, or a society whose members were initiated by the sprinkling or covering of water. We are called first and foremost to a relationship with a Person—Jesus Christ.
- When we stay focused on Jesus, we know we are not alone. We have a Savior who has run this race of life already. He knows how hard it is. He knows how to persevere through it. We can trust Him.
- Be tenacious to hold onto Jesus. Go wherever Jesus leads you to go. Persevere. Focus on what He is doing in the midst of what we are doing. Listen to His voice, drowning out all the others. Even when it hurts. When you’re tired. When you want to give up. When you want to settle for less. Believe it or not, persevering through the really tough times will lead to a joyful run through this race of life with Him.
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4, NASB).”
We can have hope because we have God with us. So, remember our lane markers for the race.
#1. Choose to persevere through every challenge.
#2. Count on God’s promise to give you hope.
#3. Let that hope sustain you through the rough-and-tumble of life.
#4. Celebrate the joyful reward.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with hope so you can persevere through life.
Joyful Walk Bible Studies by Melanie Newton are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.