This podcast covers the Introduction to Profiles of Perseverance Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
The Need for Perseverance
Jesus said to His followers that we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33). All of us. It doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have or what kind of success you have gained. It doesn’t even matter how much faith you have or how faithful you have been to God in your daily life and work.
Some troubles simply come from living in this fallen world and are common to everyone. Illness and natural disasters. Other troubles like persecution and rejection are related to being a child of God living in an unbelieving world. Then there are those we inflict upon ourselves because of sin still present within us—our own bad choices—or troubles that others inflict upon us because of their bad choices. Either way, we get stuck with the results.
So, in order to not only survive but also to thrive over a lifetime of ups and downs, you and I need to have something called perseverance, something the Bible says is good for us.
What is perseverance?
- Perseverance is holding to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose without giving way. It refers to active staying power and tenacity to hold up under some long-term burden.
- The Greek word used often in the New Testament means “bearing under.” It’s holding up a load with staying power, tenacity and stick-to-it-iveness. You have to be “under” to bear “under.”
Suffering tests our faith; Perseverance matures our faith.
- The testing of our faith is on faith that is actually there. You can rejoice that you have faith worth testing (James 1:3).
- Jesus uses those tough times, when we are under stress, pressure, pain or suffering to float to the surface the parts of our character that are not so beautiful, not so strong, not so godly. And, if we let Him, He will remove that ugly stuff and strengthen what’s left so we can
- When we persevere through any pain, distress, or long-term challenge, we will be mature, complete and lacking nothing (James 1:4). And, even have joy in the process because of the reward at the end for that staying power.
The need for hope in this difficult world
- Hebrews 6:19 describes hope as an "anchor for the soul." It gives us security and stability like an anchor does for a ship in the midst of a storm.
- Biblical hope is not wishful thinking but a confident, eager expectation of a coming certainty based on the character of God to back up His promises. Our hope is rooted in the faithfulness of God. That hope enables us to persevere through the rough-and-tumble of real life.
- We live in the time period between Genesis 3 when sin entered the world and Revelation 21 when God does away with all sin and its effects. If we are going to faithfully persevere, we are going to have to accept this — not like it, but recognize it and not be discouraged.
The choice to persevere
- You have to choose perseverance for it to finish its work. The opposite choice would result in whining, complaining, anger at God, and giving up.
- If we will let Him, Jesus will remove that yucky stuff to make us mature and complete, not lacking in anything needed necessary to live out Jesus’ life in us.
- For you and me, God has things for us to do, kingdom work to do here on earth, during this time between Genesis 3 and Revelation 21. And, He needs us to be mature.
Prepare by instruction, learn by experience
- God’s way of developing perseverance in our lives is this: “Prepare by instruction; learn by experience.” Our instruction comes from the Bible, especially viewing the work of God in the lives of men and women during much of their lifetime. We can see God’s faithfulness to them and be confident in His faithfulness to us as well. He is the same God.
“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).”
- When we look at life just with our own eyes, we become fearful and pessimistic. We think to ourselves, “Nothing’s going to work. I don’t know if I can get through this.” But, when we look at the Bible and see how God empowered everyday people like you and I to face their challenges, the Holy Spirit uses that scripture to strengthen us and to give us courage that we didn’t know we had.
- God is the best teacher. So, we are going to look at the lives of several Old Testament believers—Joseph, David, Elijah, and Nehemiah—to gain a long-term perspective about God’s faithfulness to them as they persevered over many years, not just during a scene from their lives. We will discover what it means to be sustained by hope in the faithfulness of God, enabling us to persevere in the rough-and-tumble of life.
Are you ready to develop perseverance in your life? Consider these to be the 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.